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Smart Poles

Neva brings heads-up display to your hands.
posted: 05/22/2012
by Gavin Gibson

For better or worse, the cell phone is now an integral item in most skiers’ equipment.  Integrated GPS, live snow reports, and easy communication make smartphones useful on the slopes. The problem comes when skiers actually have to use them—frozen fingers and dropped phones top a long list of potential problems.

But a new solution may soon be in your hands—literally. Anthony Griesel, an IT manager and backcountry enthusiast  from Salt Lake City, Utah, has developed skiing’s first “smart” pole under the name Neva. What makes Neva so smart? Housed inside the grip is a display, two-optical sensors, and a Bluetooth receiver that syncs with most smartphones.

“The app that will ship with Neva will let you toggle individual features like caller ID, text messages, time, temperature, elevation, slope aspect, and slope angle.” Says Griesel. “The app also has breadcrumb (tracking) so you can see where you have been, and share it in Google Earth’s KML format. Cumulative elevation change and total distance covered can be tracked.”

The display, electronics and battery only add a scant 63-grams to total pole weight, and can run up to three days on a single charge. Neva’s optical sensors aren’t as sensitive as a touch screen, but there’s no need to remove gloves to use the poles functions—so say goodbye to cold hands.

Griesel is currently attempting to put Neva poles into production this fall by using Kickstarter. “The reason I use Kickstarter is that it would allow me to go into production without having to take on venture capital. This lets me have a say where the poles are made, who assembles them, and what they get paid. I feel strongly about keeping all development and manufacturing in Salt Lake City. Investors will be motivated by profits and would ship the manufacturing offshore for higher margins.”

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