Recon Instruments founder unveils new AR swim goggles

Form Smart Swim 2
Form’s Smart Swim 2 features heart rate monitor, digital compass.

In 2016, Dan Eisenhardt, former competitive swimmer and co-founder of Vancouver-based Recon Instruments, returned to his roots with the launch of Form, a wearables startup that offered augmented reality-powered goggles aimed at creating better swimmers.

After four years of fine tuning the design of its flagship product, Form has unveiled the second generation of its smart goggles: Smart Swim 2.

The Smart Swim 2 has already received race approval from four sports governing bodies.

Similar to the first iteration of the product, the Smart Swim 2 goggles use onboard sensors and Waveguide, a technology that directs visual information to the swimmer’s eyes, to deliver athletes real-time swimming metrics, such as stroke rate and pace, as well as guided workouts and real-time coaching.

In addition to reducing the size and increasing the comfort of the goggles, the Vancouver-based startup has added new features and metrics to Smart Swim 2 aimed at improving swimmers’ performance.

Form was founded in 2016 by CEO Eisenhardt, who swam competitively for 14 years before starting his first company. Eisenhardt first founded Recon Instruments, which launched a smart eyewear product for the sports market in 2010 and was acquired by Intel Corporation in 2015 for $175 million.

In 2017, Intel shuttered its Recon division, which led the company’s four founders to pursue new projects. Eisenhardt founded Form, while his fellow co-founders went on to build other Vancouver-based tech companies, such as Thinkific, SKIO Music, Novarc Technologies.

Form officially launched in August 2019, and in 2020, the startup raised $12 million in a Series A round led by undisclosed family offices in the United Kingdom and Denmark. 

“At Recon Instruments we proved what was possible for AR devices for sports—delivering the right information at the right time, in the right form factor,” Eisenhardt told BetaKit. 

He said sticking to these principles became more challenging when launching Form, since swim goggles have very limited real estate to include features like sensors and a display, not to mention the difficulties with mixing electronics and water.

“We’ve not only overcome both, but we’re here today proudly with our next-gen product that further propels us forward as the leader in this space, with a very compelling practical application of AR that our swimmers love,” Eisenhardt added.

The Smart Swim 2 goggles’ tech pack, which includes an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, and barometer, is 15 percent smaller than the first version. The goggles also include eye seals and nose bridges to fit a wide variety of facial structures. 

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The new goggles also include heart rate monitoring measured at the temple, and a digital compass called SwimStraight, that allows swimmers to follow in-goggle directional heading to avoid swimming off course. 

In a statement, Eisenhardt said the built-in heart rate monitor is designed to eliminate the “inconvenience of purchasing, attaching, and pairing a separate device and displays accurate continuous real-time heart rate for optimal training and racing.”

SwimStraight is aimed at being especially effective for open water swimmers. “SwimStraight is truly transformative, particularly for triathletes, offering an intelligent guide to keep your swim path straight and true, saving energy, time and improving focus,” Eisenhardt added.

According to Form, the Smart Swim 2 has already received race approval by World Triathlon, USA Triathlon, the Professional Triathletes Organisation, and supertri. The product currently retails at $249 USD.

The Smart Swim 2 includes a free two-month trial of Form Premium, which includes access to workouts, training plans, and Form’s digital coaching solution, HeadCoach.

Feature image courtesy Form.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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