Incus is the name of the anvil-shaped bone of the middle ear that helps transmit vibrations our brains compute. It also provides a first clue as to what this innovative swim tech might be about, because vibration plays a key role in the Incus Nova that’s been devised by sports engineers in Loughborough to revolutionise our swim technique.
It’s an inconspicuous teardrop-shaped device that slips into a pouch in the upper back of a tailored tri-suit or swim vest, with an on-off button that vibrates when pressed. In the water, it measures the changing roll, pitch and velocity gain of our bodies on every stroke via an accelerometer, with the data analysed through an app that picks out such vagaries as left-right asymmetry and how the head rises on sighting.
The real value is that, because body movement is coupled with acceleration, it shows in minute detail when, and hopefully why, we’re slowing down and speeding up through the stroke cycle – and so we can make adjustments to improve. As well as the post-swim analysis, which provides data on stroke count and rate, more immediate feedback can be gained by setting the Nova to vibrate every time your body roll exceeds a pre-set angle. We tested at the London Triathlon and it’s so unobtrusive that the only danger is forgetting to turn it off in T1. The results are instant and over 1.5km it picked out plenty to work on.
Included with the Nova comes a tri-suit or swim vest, and athletes who splash out on wetsuits or swim lessons are unlikely to baulk at the price. Tim Heming incusperformance.com
Verdict: A clever innovation with practical appeal for all swimmers 88%
Buy from www.incusperformance.com