To optimize cardiovascular fitness, athletes target a specific heart rate to ensure they are getting the most out of their workouts. Although there are numerous devices for runners and bikers to monitor their heart rate during exercise, swimmers have to stop to measure their heart rate oruse cumbersome monitors that are uncomfortable and create significant drag.
As a college student, Hind Hobeika created a prototype of a monitor that fits on swimming goggles to provide real-time heart rate feedback while swimming. Her design won third prize in the Stars of Science competition. In order to commercialize the device, she founded a company called Instabeat – its primary goal being to provide swimmers with a self-tracking, noninvasive experience to obtain a complete assessment of their workout.
However, significant design challenges emerged as the team worked to bring Hobeika’s design to market. The device had to have water-tight seals and last through long-term exposure to sea water, chlorine and direct sunlight. It also required sufficient flexibility to adjust to any swimming goggles, but be rigid enough to hold firm against the swimmers head for good heart rate sensing.