Its been a while since I have last posted, but I wanted to make sure I followed up my last post on the newest rowing app I have been trying, called Rowing in Motion. If you havent read the previous article on this app then I would recommend going to read it here…… go on ill wait…….. read it? Great.
For this review ill be focusing on the Rowing in Motion – Boat app that is meant to be run on the iPhone in the boat. When you fire up the boat app the first screen you see is this one which is a standard rowing app display since it shows 500m split, distance traveled time, rate, stroke efficiency and pulse (which requires the Wahoo ANT+ chip and belt)
Where things get interesting is when you start swiping right in the app to bring up alternative screens, the next that comes up being the boat acceleration view that shows a live output of how the boat is accelerating at the time from left to right, when the line is above 0 then you are accelerating the boat, when it is below then you are decelerating the boat. There are some interesting posts here and here that I would recommend you reading when you start using this view, as it really helps you work out what you are looking for in your curve and what you should be aiming to improve.
Continue to swipe and the next screen is a full screen rate image which is useful if you only want to see what rate you are looking for, note that if you have turned on the logger then the app is still recording all the data in the background even in this view, so you can review your outing when you are done and you have uploaded the recording onto the Analytic site.
Swipe again and you get to what I like to think of as the “raw data”, details of how efficient you are rowing, and how long you are taking at the catch/how much you are checking the boat. Details of how these numbers are calculated is given here so I would recommend you read to make sure you understand how these numbers are calculated.
Finally with one last swipe you get to the “race mode”, this is the most basic screen of them all and for people who don’t want to have any data showing on the screen at all, they only want to record the data while they are rowing for reviewing after the outing.
The last action that you can do is if you tap on the screen on any of the screens mentioned above then a selection panel rises up, giving you a couple of toggles and also the upload to analytic site button (the botton on the right).
The toggles activate the following functions within the app:
Sonification : this is an option where you can have the acceleration curve displayed vocally as shown in the video below, this is quite a clever feature as you can actually discern quite small differences between the changing tones from one stroke to the next, and do it more easily than staring at a screen at your feet gives you the option to activate:
Log : Where you can activate the recording feature to record the outing, and then upload it to the analytic site that Rowing in motion offer (currently in Beta), here you can analyise any part of your outing quite easily as shown here
That’s the basics of the app, and in practice it works very well, although I do have some helpful hints to other users:
- The app calibrates when you open the app, therefore if you open the app and then move the angle the iPhone is at, it wont record your acceleration properly, therefore id recommend attaching the iPhone in the boat BEFORE you activate the app (I use a simple arm strap that I have for running with the iPhone, works a treat)
- The app also only opens in one orientation, which is holding the iPhone with the home button to the right, if you hold it to the left then it’ll open upside down
- The app is VERY sensitive to vibrations, therefore you may find that there’s a “buzz” vibration in the curve, I found using some padding or foam helps smooth out the curve for more detail
Although I am still getting to grips with the App and the services that the app owner offers (the analytic site has only gone live this last month) I have to say that I am already very impressed and I am keen to see how the app and the online services rowing in motion are developing will develop over time, with time I am hoping more users will come online and there will be a potential for sharing experiences with the app and how people have to come use it to curve faults with their technique. What I think makes this app especially cleaver is the fact that unlike normal rate meters or stroke coaches that only show your rate and speed, for the first time this app brings a way for you to see how well you are able to move the boat from stroke to stroke, previously only possible with an expensive telemetry system like the ones I outlined here. You may not get all the data you would get from something like the Peach Innovations system, but considering that costs upwards of £2500 for a set up for a single, and this cost me less than £50 for the app and the fittings for the boat (not counting the cost of the iPhone), you can see that it is bringing a basic way for all rowers to track and analyse their own rowing telemetry.
As good as the app is, there are still some drawbacks that you have to consider
- The app relies on GPS for boat speed which is not ideal when you row on a river since GPS does not take into account the stream of the river which an impeller would do
- As the iPhone has an LCD screen, it does not perform well in direct sunlight (although the sonification does help solve this problem)
- It drains your battery in a BIG way
- There is always an inherent risk when you take your very expensive smartphone out on the water!
However these drawbacks are very minor in my opinion (and to be honest something that affects ALL smartphone apps) and when you consider the potential benefit you can get from the app more than justify using the app. The app is available here and there is also a lite version for testing purposes as well. To end I put together a short video of using the app and also a few clips of me using the app when sculling
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!