updated 10:50 pm EDT, Tue September 21, 2010
MetriGear produces cycling power sensors
Garmin has announced its acquisition of MetriGear, a Silicon Valley-based startup that has focused on technology for bicyclists. The purchase is expected to help Garmin expand its fitness division, which currently offers a variety of Edge-series GPS systems that combine GPS tools with cycle computer functionality.
MetriGear specializes in a pedal-based power meter, the Vector, which utilizes over 60 piezoresistive strain gauges, accelerometers, and temperature sensors. Data from the various components is combined to create an accurate way to track forces (expressed in watts) that a cyclist applies to the pedals. The sensors are located in the hole in each pedal spindle, providing a way to measure forces throughout the entire stroke and independently from each leg.
Several high-end Edge offerings, along with a Forerunner watch, already boast compatibility with third-party sensors. Using the ANT+ wireless standard, the GPS systems communicate with heart rate monitors, speed/cadence sensors, or power meters. Although Garmin's website lists compatibility with power meters from Quarq, SRM, iBike and PowerTap, the Vector also features ANT+ connectivity.
The MetriGear buyout presumably will enable Garmin to offer a complete package for cyclists, without requiring third-party accessories. The company already combines heart rate monitors with some packages, while the Vector can provide power and cadence information to round out an advanced training setup. Data from the Vector can be processed by appropriate software to graph forces and power from an entire riding session, while also showing a force profile for individual pedal strokes.
Garmin has yet to announce specific details regarding its plans for MetriGear. The startup expected the Vector to be released sometime in 2010, although it is unclear if the Garmin buyout will delay the project.
Written by Monish Bhatia