These last weeks have seen giant leaps in the refining of the new Safetrx application on the mSafety platform from Sony prior to launch early next year. The device’s job is to help protect the life of its wearer, and to do that it must work in all weathers and in all sea conditions.
At our recent trials in Norway and The Netherlands the unique tracking and alerting capabilities were tested in fair weather and foul.
For our first trial we teamed up with our partners in Redningsselskapet, the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue at their base in Lysaker near Oslo. A range of water sports enthusiasts volunteered to put the device through its paces, including sea kayakers, electrified jet board surfers and Oda Johanne Brødholt one of the world’s top windsurfers.
In addition to rigorously testing the tracking and alerting functions of the device, we used the opportunity to ask our testers about the lifestyle features they wanted to see in addition to the core safety functions.
The devices worked as designed, and in fact even better than anticipated, continuing to send the distress signal even when under water. We also received excellent user information on the most important features by sport and these findings are being built into the device by our team of software engineers.
Our second field test was in partnership with our friends in the KNRM in Scheveningen in The Netherlands, and the sea conditions could not have been more different. In Norway we tested in extremely calm conditions with little or no wind, whereas in the Netherlands, we got to really push the capabilities of the wearable. The wind gusted up to force 6 and the waves were 1.5m high, making it much harder for the lifeboat crews to spot our windsurfing ‘casualty’, Niels Van Campen in the water. The adverse conditions helped further prove the abilities of the tracking and alert function as the device’s signal brought the lifeboat crew to within two metres of where Niels was in the waves.
The tracking function was also tested by a dozen or so kite surfers and other windsurfers, with great interest on their part in seeing their journeys on the control screen when they came back to dry land.
The data and insights we gained from our two field tests in Norway and Holland have proven invaluable to us, both in testing the devices capabilities and in adding the valuable lifestyle features our test crew want to see on the device when it goes on public sale early next year.