Time to meet Tom, who leads our hardware engineering. Tom talked to us about how the Swimtraxx One design came to be and how he believes Swimtraxx One will be an absolute game changer.
Tom has a degree in Biomedical Engineering from KU Leuven. Even during his days as a student, Tom was already very active in the world of swimming. He was a member of the board for his university swimming team and organized an international swimming cup for students. He is an ex-triathlete who now fills his spare time with cycling and mountain biking to stay active. This is what he had to say:
Hi Tom. As an introduction, could you tell us about your main activities at Swimtraxx?
I am responsible for the design and development of the Swimtraxx One hardware. With our team, we have integrated the latest and most useful technologies into the system. I also oversee the manufacturability and lifetime reliability of our device. Currently, I am managing the certification process and will be closely following up our production samples.
How come you decided to jump on a project like Swimtraxx?
During my studies of Biomedical Engineering at the KU Leuven, I met Jeroen Lecoutere, our CEO, in several student projects during his PhD. One of them was a student project which was focused on wireless communication in swimming.
After graduating, my interest grew exponentially as I got more involved in the early days of Swimtraxx during several chats and brainstorm sessions with Jeroen in Leuven. During that time, I was active as electrical engineer for Cochlear where I was part of the Implant Technology Development Team.
I was really getting more and more excited to get actively involved into Swimtraxx. When Jeroen called me about an open position at the company, I applied and eventually joined the team.
With the Swimtraxx One coming out soon, we are interested in hearing your opinion. What makes the device special if we look at it from your field of expertise?
For more than 5 years, I have been scouting wearables and swim specific devices. None of them fulfilled the needs of swimmers and coaches as the Swimtraxx One does. This product is top notch with real time feedback and insights into your swims. As an ex-triathlete and swimmer, I really enjoyed the comfort of the device in several test swims and was very pleased by the insights I gained. Especially that our device is head-worn and not something around your wrist, which can influence your stroke efficiency, makes Swimtraxx One a game changer! It elevates swimming to a whole new level of performance tracking.
“Swimtraxx One elevates swimming to
a whole new level of performance tracking.”
You mentioned the fact that the device is head-worn. Can you tell us something about the impact this had on the development of the design?
One of the major design challenges of wearable electronics is the form factor. Together with the latest power management solutions, sensor and radio technologies, we were able to get a small electronic footprint of the full design. In cooperation with our mechanical design team and swimmers, we were able to fine tune the shape, look and feel of Swimtraxx One. This resulted in the smallest swim specific device, which I and the whole team are really proud of. The swimmers that we showcase our product to are always surprised by how small it is. That's always great to hear because that was one of our main efforts throughout the development.
Can you pick out something that you enjoyed the most during this project?
Something I really enjoy is the responsibility and the ability to fully test and broaden my experience as an engineer. Working in a start-up is a significant contrast to working at well-established companies. Starting from scratch, interacting closely with your colleagues, negotiating with partners and launching our first product is truly exciting.
We love to end these interviews with a good story. Can you tell us something that happened at Swimtraxx that you will always remember?
The moment that we were interpreting the raw data, gathered from Swimtraxx One prototypes, into swim biomechanics. Both Jeroen and I were “swimming” in the meeting room and using the full meeting room (including the walls) to come to useful insights. Very funny to see from outside if you wouldn’t know what the meeting was about.