Los Angeles Business Journal

Surfers, Boarders Enter No-Spin Zone

ActiveReplay’s Trace tracks moves by outdoor athletes. By Tom Dotan Monday, November 25, 2013
David Lokshin with Trace system.

David Lokshin with Trace system. Photo by Ringo Chiu.

Snowboarders and surfers are no strangers to boasting about their outdoor conquests.

But a new device about the size of a peanut butter cup that’s tacked onto a board could keep them honest. Every movement can be logged, synced with a smartphone and made “measurable, sharable and comparable.”

That’s the idea for Trace, a device developed by ActiveReplay, a new company co-founded by David Lokshin. Although he envisions Trace for a niche audience, the device’s complexity is also an attempt to take a leap forward in the growing category of wearable tech.

Trace is fresh off a successful campaign on the funding site Kickstarter, where it saw more than 1,000 people contribute $161,260, largely through device preorders. The campaign ended in September and the company has since joined Venice tech accelerator Amplify LA. Lokshin is in the process of putting together a seed round for an undisclosed amount.

Wearable electronic devices that measure and track a person’s motion have already made strides in the running world. Wristbands, such as ones made by San Francisco’s Fitbit Inc. and Fuelband by Nike Inc., have become popular with joggers who want to keep track of their speed, distance and heart rate.

In Lokshin’s view, these devices have relatively crude tracking components – generally one or two monitors – that are best for logging a person’s steps but not for the complex motions involved in action sports.

“There’s a lot of approximation with other devices, and the more you integrate them, the more error you get,” Lokshin said. “They could never do something as complex as rotation.”

Trace’s accelerometers are built to track motion across nine axes and can measure vertical lift, flips and complex motions such as a sharp turn while riding a wave.

With Trace, all the data gathered during a snowboard or surf ride is stored on the device and then transferred wirelessly to a smartphone app.

Lokshin already has some success in mobile software: Two years ago, he and some friends created AlpineReplay, a motion tracker and social network app for snowboarders that claims hundreds of thousands of users.

Trace costs $169 for preorders and $199 once the device is released in January – assuming it stays on schedule. Along with the release will be a new suite of apps designed for skateboarders, snowboarders and surfers.

Beyond the competitive elements, Lokshin envisions a Trace community that can also provide data about which runs on a mountain are busiest or what chair lifts have the longest lines.

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