World’s first AI ski instructor launches

The ultra-thin smart insert records more than 70 metrics under your feet on every turn

Frida Handsdotter of Sweden reacts after competing in the second run of the Women's giant slalom at the FIS ski World cup on October 27, 2018 in Soelden, Austria.  / AFP / JOE KLAMAR

The word’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) digital ski coach scrutinises every move – from the angle of the ski edges to the relative pressure exerted by each toe. More than that, it is invisible.

Tucked away in a pocket or into a boot, the ultra-thin smart insert records more than 70 metrics on every turn which broadly fit into four distinct categories: balance, edging, rotary and pressure.

The 48 pressure sensors under each foot can tell if the weight is forward or back at the right point of the turn and whether the weight is being transferred smoothly from ski to ski. The movement of the phone inside the jacket pocket can also tell if the upper body position is correctly facing the fall line.

These measurements are in turn used to set goals and improve performance, like increasing speed or landing after a jump.

Carv, an invention of Canada-based start-up Motion Metrics, is set to revolutionise the way people ski. "Rather than just give the raw data, and appeal to a niche of serious racers, we decided we wanted to create a coaching experience which will actually teach the average person how to get better – and that is a much more complex problem," Jamie Grant, chief executive of Motion Metrics, told the Financial Times.

A futuristic video published on the company's website shows Carv sending data to a smartphone. The data is processed into real-time feedback, delivered orally by the AI ski coach through headphones. At the end of each session, the AI ski coach informs the user whether or not they have completed the level and can move on to the next. The data can sync with the Carv cloud and shared on social media.

Carv is the latest in a series of inventions in a booming AI market. The most common are systems that can transcribe human language, such as voice-response interactive systems and mobile apps.
Virtual agents – or computer programmes capable of interacting with humans, such as chatbots – are being used for customer service and support and as smart home managers.

Machine Learning platforms are also gaining more traction every day. They are currently mainly being used for prediction and classification, but companies such as Adext AI managed to create the first and only audience management tool in the world that applies real AI and machine learning to advertising, in order to find the most profitable audience or demographic group for any advertisement.


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