Green Bay technology company aims to enhance action sports
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Meander your way through the right Green Bay office basement and you’ll find the world headquarters of a consumer electronics company.
You probably haven’t heard of Xensr — pronounced “sensor ”— unless you’re big into kitesurfing, snowboarding, surfing or other action sports, USA Today Network-Wisconsin (http://gbpg.net/2epqnj7 ) reported.
But Xensr CEO and founder David Troup expects the company’s new three-dimensional GPS device, the Xensr Air 3D, to make quite the splash with extreme athletes who want to enhance the videos they share of their feats and accomplishments.
It doesn’t just give you data such as speed, direction, time elapsed, jump heights or distance traveled. The Xensr Air is designed to sync the data it collects with point-of-view videos athletes often shoot from GoPro cameras and similar devices.
“It’s mounted on your gear and captures everything an athlete does in 3-D,” Troup said. “The sensors give you a full view of what the athlete does: Their speed, turns, when they surf a wave or make a run. Then it sends all the results and data to your wearable, watch or smartphone.”
The result is easily clipped videos overlaid with telemetry data to show how fast an athlete was going or what kind of g force they felt as they made a sharp turn.
“No one else does real time data and integration like we do,” Troup said.
The wearable technology industry is certainly trying, though, and there’s no guarantee Xensr will emerge victorious.
Trace action sports sensors sell for the same price as the Xensr Air, $200, and are marketed toward the same action sports crowd. The WOO 2.0 costs $250 and is aimed more specifically at surfers and kitesurfers. And Garmin’s new Virb X and XE cameras have similar sensors built into the device for $200 to $400.
Before Xensr and Trace, back in 2010, there was ShadowBox, a $500 kit for snowboarders to get some basic data on their runs. Now, you can buy its domain name.
In 2011, Nokia and snowboard maker Burton unveiled Push Snowboarding, a small wearable device that would track your speed and orientation, but was more focused on providing a rider’s biological data. By 2013, Nokia shifted its focus toward enhanced app services and connecting cameras with smartphones and wearables.
Troup said Xensr has an advantage in that it has made connections with surfers, skiers, snowboarders and skaters from Maui to London. He said the company is also in discussions with a major action camera manufacturer to place its product in national retail outlets.
But what Troup is truly high on right now is his hometown.
Xensr employs engineers in Portland, Ore., and works with a field team in Maui, but Troup said he’s committed to keeping operations in Green Bay and locating as much production, engineering and assembly as possible in Wisconsin.
It’s a mentality that surprises even him.
“I couldn’t wait to get out of Green Bay when I was younger. I went everywhere I wanted, then decided this was a good place to raise a family,” Troup said. “Now, I’m so proud of Green Bay for what it’s done to revive downtown. We need to cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset and not let it get squashed by the idea that you have to go somewhere else to find a cool job.”
Green Bay Economic Development Programs and Projects Manager Wendy Townsend met Troup through a youth sailing school she launched. She said his outlook and ideas for growing Green Bay can help attract and retain talent.
“Sometimes people overlook the fact that Green Bay is truly a gem and think you have to go somewhere else to do things like (Xensr),” Townsend said. “But there are other interesting businesses similar to his that would like Green Bay to be aware that there’s a huge, emerging group of inventors and entrepreneurs doing things here.”
Information from: Press-Gazette Media, http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com