Griffith University graduate Judd Armstrong embarked on something of a homecoming when deciding on who best to bring his latest project to fruition.
That product is the Jaybird Reign activity tracker and in the world of wearable sports technology it is already receiving rave reviews, thanks greatly to input by Griffith University.
Through SABEL Labs — which grew out of the Sports and Biomedical Program in the Centre for Wireless Monitoring and Applications — academics including Associate Professor Daniel James and Dr David Rowlands contributed expertise to what is being hailed as a game-changer in wearable tech.
“Jaybird Reign is an activity tracker worn on the wrist,” says Armstrong, CEO of the US-based company Jaybird, who graduated with a degree in International Business in 2006. He now lives on the Sunshine Coast.
“However, where it differs from other products is in its approach to automated activity detection by providing a timeline of your activity on a simple dial, along with its forward looking sleep recommendations and its recognition of the body’s readiness for activity.”
By measuring the variability in time between each heartbeat, the Jaybird Reign detects patterns of fatigue or recovery and activity versus inactivity across a range of categories.
“SABEL Labs provided the technical expertise that covers so many aspects of analysing the body during sleep, inactivity while awake, as well as walking, running, cycling, gym and general sports,” says Armstrong.
“It was great to have Griffith, through SABEL, on board for this project. I stayed at the Nathan campus in my university days and so to come back was like a homecoming.”
After graduating, Armstrong headed to the US to pursue business opportunities. There he launched a company specialising in medical records retrieval and while it was a success, Armstrong admits he was unfulfilled.
Always keen on health and fitness, he identified the potential of wearable sports technology and launched Jaybird with a focus on headphones.
“I like staying fit, but I never liked exercising with all the wires and cords that some products required. I wanted to get rid of all that,” says Armstrong. “Once we had established ourselves as a leader in sports headphones, we worked hard to enhance the active lifestyle in other meaningful ways.”
Hence the Jaybird Reign, which Armstrong says has three core functions.
“The first is to measure your life by activity and sport, which serves as a good motivator,” he says. “The second is a sleep monitor that tells you how much sleep you will need in order to be rested and ready for tomorrow. The third is what we call the Go-Zone, which actually reads your body and knows when it wants to be active.”
Meanwhile, SABEL’s work continues to expand since being created to meet the growing adoption of technology in sport and biomedical industries. Its interdisciplinary team of scientists has expertise in biomedical engineering, sport engineering, human factors, physiology, microelectronic engineering, wireless networking and information systems.
The University’s commercialisation and technology transfer office, Griffith Enterprise, has assisted with preparing SABEL for more commercial engagement.
The Jaybird Reign is scheduled for global release this year.