pegasus-logo     Over the last several years I’ve been following the development of a sensor-based technology that I thought held great promise for running, but that has had its share of missteps on the long road to market.   Pegasus Sports Performance licensed a technology first developed by engineers at the UCLA Wireless Health Institute to analyze the abnormal gait of Parkinson’s and stroke victims, then adapted that technology for performance athletics.

Over the last two years Pegasus has worked with former Mammoth Track Club and now Boston Athletic Association coach Terrence Mahon as well as athletes ranging from the everyday to world class to hone its software and sensor design. Now, in a final beta test before market launch, Pegasus is looking for a group of runners to try out the new design and give their feedback.

Pegasus sensor, charger, Iphone and smart watch
Pegasus sensor, charger, Iphone and smart watch

If you are interested in being part of this beta test, go to the Pegasus website,  where you can take a survey and join up!

The technology is centered around a small sensor which fits onto the laces of a running shoe and analyzes a runner’s stride dynamics at a rate of 600 iterations a second. By breaking down a runner’s stride into its cadence, ground contact time, back kick and foot roll, a runner and his/her coach can identify, then correct, the small inefficiencies and asymmetries inherent in almost every runner’s motion. The data points are displayed in real-time on a smart watch, cell phone, or computer paired to the sensor via cloud technology.  It’s like having a coach and biomechanist with mitochondrial-level vision showing you step-by-step where you need to focus your effort.  It’s easy to see why this technology holds such promise.

Pegasus App display
Pegasus cell phone app display

“The new sensors are just 8 grams each,” Pegasus chairman Dr. Bill Shea told me at the Running USA conference in San Diego last week.  “We wanted to make the overall design simpler and more secure.  The circuitry was made in China, the casing is from a 3-D printing company in L.A.”

Once the data from the sensor is uploaded to the Pegasus website athletes can utilize the company’s “90-90″ Program which corresponds to a cadence of 90 strides per minute and a ground contact angle of 90 degrees, two easily identifiable markers which, when working together, produce peak running efficiency.

While the original sensors had a USB port for recharging and data transfer, the new model has eliminated the USB port, and goes wireless.  All you have to do is put the sensor itself, or the shoe with the sensor on it, atop a small mat, and it recharges automatically.

The Pegasus technology is similar to what Coach Alberto Salazar has been utilizing in Portland for Galen Rupp and Mo Farah at the Nike Oregon Project. But in Portland the athletes run on a specially designed treadmill to analyze their strides.  What makes the Pegasus technology so intriguing is that it can manage the same result in the field, whether in training or racing.  The difficulty has been in keeping the sensors small, the operation simple, and the data coming consistently.

Ground Contact Angle
Ground Contact Angle

So while Pegasus sensors have been field tested along the Ngong Hills of Kenya, been taken for spins around the U.S. Olympic Training Center track in Chula Vista, California, and utilized as a broadcast tool for the 2012 Los Angeles Marathon, the bugs were still being worked out in the process.

Now with its new sensors in hand Pegasus is looking for a few good men and women, preferably small groups, to beta test their latest sensors before they launch the product at this year’s Boston Marathon.

If you are interested in being part of this beta test, go to the Pegasus website,  where you can take a survey and join up!



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