Spinlock Sail-Sense, the IoT now includes tacking and flogging
The “Internet of Things” (IoT) concept has not excited me so far. For instance, the oft-repeated example — a wireless sensor/software system by which my ‘smart’ refrigerator will monitor a ‘smart’ milk carton’s level so that my phone can alert me when to buy a new one — leaves me as IoT skeptical as this tech pundit. But when the thing is a valuable sail and Spinlock’s Sail-Sense sensing goes well beyond human capabilities, the IoT story gets interesting.
The Sail-Sense system begins with a small blue hardware module that is most likely stitched onto the clew by the sailmaker, who then uses the Sail-Sense app to pair with the module and input all sorts of information about that specific sail. The boat’s owner or crew could do the same, but they’ll more likely use the Sail-Sense ID’s to keep track of sails piled in serious racing boats or the containers that often follow them around the circuits.
While it’s easy to imagine the Sail-Sense concept working its way down to modest cruising boats — plummeting hardware costs along with massive market growth are IoT assumptions — it’s not surprising to see it begin at the high end.
The Sail-Sense module will have a retail price of £150 ($190) and will include the database features along with tracking a sail’s location and hours of use. But subscriptions costing £25 ($32) per year per sail will be needed to access the modules’ advanced sensing, illustrated below…
The Sail-Sense module wakes on motion and starts carefully sensing that motion as well as UV exposure. And what these screens don’t show are the sail “health scores” that are purportedly calculated using a “fibre analysis of UV and motion” done by a UK university. In other words, the system can not only sense and store hard-to-log data, but make intelligent comments about it.
For more information, visit Smart Sail Systems, the small team that developed this technology before happily turning over exclusive rights to Spinlock, where it was renamed it Sail-Sense. Which makes lots of sense as it may eventually integrate with Spinlock’s other Sense products.
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