Jibin Jose, Co-Founder of the startup, Flip Technologies, Kochi, recently won an all-expenses paid trip to Canada to interact with innovation experts, investors and mentors after a device jointly developed by him and another Co-Founder, Abhimanyu Nair, called Block — The Smart Riser, a hardware and mobile app for skateboarders, was ranked among the top five in the Next Big Idea Contest 2014, organised jointly by the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute, the Government of Ontario, Canada, IBM Global and Ryerson Futures Inc.
Block helps skateboarders track their progress and increase their skills in a quantified way, by providing an activity tracker hardware and a mobile app. Skateboarders can enhance their ability to perform, and analyse a trick whether he/she is an amateur or a professional. The device is connected to the truck of the skateboard and tracks the dynamics of the board, and the data is sent to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. The app can determine the trick performed and help skateboarders improve their skills. In a way, it acts as a personalised trainer. The duo is also planning to launch games. Video overlay integration is their proposed enhancement where in the user can take a video of he/she skateboarding and integrate the stat to the video. “Along with the video, the stat/achievements will be displayed or overlayed, more like a live cricket score,” he says.
Speaking to edex on the phone from Canada, Jibin said, “The dynamics of the board like rate of rotation and such are sent as an algorithm to the app. So let’s say the skater does a standard kick flip trick on his skateboard, the speed and the angle is sent to the app and the app suggests the skater to kick the board in a faster way and so on.” The device is fixed between the skateboard and the wheel. He adds that they are currently developing the app for Android and in private beta, and plan to launch the iOS and Android together before the hardware hits the market. One of the challenges, he says, is market and shipping the hardware. “There is no market in India for such an app and we plan to conduct the pilot in the US. Here, we hardly have skate parks; only a few in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai. Initially, the device will cost anywhere from $99-$120,” he says adding that he would like to develop something for snow skiing and roller skating in the future.
Other members involved in the development of the app are Jishnu Vijayan, Balagovind Girish, Rohith Samuel and Abraham Alexander of Flip Technologies. The device has also been rated as one of the most interesting products by Intel, which will provide its latest Edison board to the students for prototyping and for development support, said a recent press release. Flip Technologies was incubated at Startup Village in Kochi. The two-week programme at Toronto’s Discovery District gave Jibin an opportunity to meet sector experts and experts in innovation ecosystem, and to scout for business development and networking.