At the recent Tour de France, the world’s most prestigious cycling event, ANT+ formed a critical link in a system that enabled Internet users to track the performance of individual HTC Columbia riders in real time.
HTC Columbia, one of the leading Tour teams and led by "Manx Missile" Mark Cavendish (a winner of five stages at this year’s event), collaborated with ANT+, software giant Google, and cycling specialist SRM to broadcast bike speed, cadence, power, and heart rate information.
The success of the collaboration relied heavily on ANT+’s interoperability between the SRM ANT+ sensors and HTC’s Android-based smartphones. ANT+’s dominance in the cycling sector is built on the interoperability assured by ANT+ between devices manufactured by the Alliance’s 285-strong membership.
The HTC Columbia team cyclists used ANT+ (running on Nordic’s ANT chips), coin cell powered monitoring devices communicating with an HTC Legend phone carried beneath the bike’s seat. The HTC phone is equipped with a Texas Instruments WiLink chip that communicates with other ANT+ devices (see ULP Wireless Quarter Spring 2010, page 14) and is available to any consumer. This Android-powered smartphone runs a Google MyTracks application combining sensor data with GPS information and transmitting via the cellular network to the Internet.
The project, initiated by former professional cyclist and Google employee, Dylan Casey, was designed to link broadcasters and fans with the riders to get even closer to the action with real time physiological data.
Figure 1: The MyTracks homepage for the Tour de France showed individual HTC Columbia riders, their performance and progress. (Click figure for larger image.)
"During the Tour fans could track their favorite HTC-Columbia rider and his stats in real time," says Casey. "And this application goes far beyond cycling. A phone with ANT+ can capture all kinds of wireless sensor data."