Another day, another wasted dream. That's how I like to live my life, apparently, as once again I came up with another million-dollarpound idea only to realise that someone had already done it and taking anything from an idea into a reality is much harder than it looks.
It occurred to me when I was out on a long run and once again cursing the stupid fact I had to hold a water bottle with me. I sometimes run with a Camelbak, but there are multiple times when I don't need THAT much water, and other times when I've lost my tube and would therefore just be carrying around water like a camel, but with no way of accessing it.
Anyway – my idea was genius. A water bottle that strapped around your arm, so you didn't need to carry it and it would be right there, balanced off from gravity. It was winning. Genius. I was going to change running forever.
I got home, and within about 2.4 seconds of Googling, I found the Aqua Arm. Great. This is like the time I saw a pen knife for the first time when I was a child and I'd had a great idea to sellotape scissors to a screwdriver.
The Aqua Arm doesn't half look chunky though – which gave me a thought: there must be loads of utterly insane ideas on Kickstarter that we can all look at together and laugh at. People are crazy, right? We'll have so much fun.
Except, well, they're apparently not so dumb. I found loads of running tech, but every time I was ready to mock I realised that, dammit, I would buy that.
So instead, here are nine Kickstarter projects that every runner would probably love. Just don't wear them all at once.
- If you've got any tips, tech you want tested out or just want to mock me, I'm @superbeav on Twitter, and you can see my stumblings on Strava too.
- If you want to see more data, follow me on Smashrun - if you want to sign up, please use this link - once you see the service, you'll work out why...
- Read the rest of the Running Man of Tech story here
- If you're wondering where the marathon news is... well, I've hit a snag. It's coming very soon though!
I'm getting this one out of the way now – it's not on Kickstarter (but was on Indiegogo). It's a thing you can already buy. It's the only one, promise.
However the Hydrosleeve has one thing all these on the list have in common: it's clever. Aside from the fact it only hold a few (long) sips of water, it's definitely something that solves a problem. It's water on your upper arm, with a bendy straw that lets you slurp away without breaking stride.
By moving it further up your arm, there's less swing and you're more easily able to drink – and you can even turn it inside out for a cheeky wash.
2. Ingenious Hat
OK, this was it. This was my big find, the dumbest thing you can imagine for runners. It's already called 'Ingenious Hat', which is a bad name for anything (especially things that aren't hats or in any way clever) and the picture looks terrible.
It's a hat with a square drawn on the front, which looks like a display. Ha, you can't read that – it's on your head. FOOLS!
Then I looked at what it did – measures UV rays and air pollution. Two things that I hate worrying about on a run. Putting the sensor on the head is a great idea to capture the most samples and keep a close eye.
An alert telling you when things are getting too high? Great idea. Dammit, Ingenious Hat, you're onto a winner here.
That said, at the time of writing it was nearly at deadline and there was almost no funding, so it doesn't look like this will see the light of day.
3. Roadnoise Vest
Ha, this is a stupid one, right? It's speakers in your shoulders so you don't have to put headphones in your ears!
The Roadnoise Vest is like the boomboxes of old come back to haunt us runners – except why would we need that? Who needs to have sound blaring out at all angles? Well, unless you're on a campaign trail and can't afford a van, I guess.
Except… dammit, it's happened again. This thing can not only hold all manner of objects, nutrition and even hydration packs, but it also allows you to stay focused on your surroundings while listening to tunes or podcasts. Safety on the roads, not being disqualified for races and they're even waterproof.
That all makes sense. I kind of want one. Although I hope it doesn't annoy the crap out of anyone running nearby... but then again, who DOESN'T love eurotrance?
4. Hydrosport Vest
It's vest o'clock suddenly, as I suddenly found another one of these chest-based objects on Kickstarter. The Hydrosport Vest seemed even madder – it doesn't even have speakers! Ha, who wants that?
Well, me again, it turns out. This thing is contoured to the body, doesn't go over both shoulders so it's cooler (perhaps only in the temperature sense, as it doesn't look great) and has dedicated hydration with the vest itself, with an easy tube to get at the water.
It's basically a more comfortable-looking Camelbak with more accessible pockets. That makes sense. Darn.
OK, this one just sounds awesome – and it's already been funded, so I'm going to spend my waking hours tracking one down.
It's two sensor-based insoles, using piezoelectric elements to properly map where you're putting pressure. Over rotating your foot? The app will correct you in real time. Trying to get faster cadence? It can do that too – in fact, it can even do heat maps showing where you're putting pressure on your knees.
That's just genius – and while the app could definitely do with some work to help you learn to run better, this is a great idea and one that shows the effect wearable tech is having in the running world.
I chose this one mostly for the picture, but then realised Clipless is actually a rather good idea. There's a clip on your phone. There's a magnetic pad. You put your clothing in between, they lock together.
That's pretty basic, but makes sense when you consider it dispenses with the need for an armband or unsightly fanny pack.
But it also has NFC inside as well, so when you sucker your phone to any part of your body, you can fire up your favourite running app or music player instantly.
*Nods with appreciation*.
*Nods to Will Smith's Men in Black 2 theme song*.
Come on, this is the one that's the most ludicrous, right? It's a place to store your keys! THAT'S WHAT POCKETS ARE FOR, YEAH?
Okey is just a magnet that's been made to hold your keys in place and attach to any part of your body. We don't need it. We've got pockets.
Except sometimes we don't. And sometimes even when we do they're too big and the keys rattle around and can even hurt our delicate, beautiful skin.
So this actually IS a good idea. And it's eye-catching in case you drop it. OK, it's a great idea.
Sadly, this wasn't quite funded, but it made over €12,000, so that's a good enough return to think this will continue.
This is the big one, that thing that's been covered over and over already – and it looks to be a game-changer.
Stryd is a small device that clips onto your belt and automatically tracks your run in 3D, using powerful metrics to really assess how you're running, where you can improve efficiency and technique, but more importantly giving you a power output.
If you're a cyclist, you'll know all about this, as it's a key way of learning how hard you're pushing. With Stryd, the same thing is available to runners, which means you no longer have to try and work out your pace and heart rate and what they mean on the go.
It even connects with running watches (although surely will have to be used in cycling mode to show power, as that's traditionally where it lives) so you'll get real time updates on how you're doing.
Plus it looks a bit like a squashed egg.
9. Night Runner
Headtorches suck because, well, they're expensive and on your head. That's where things like the Ingenious Hat need to live.
But what if you put them on your feet? What if you had torches in your shoes that showed you when you're were going to run into stuff at night as you sprint, petrified, down that pitch black trail you've got to go down because you're an IDIOT WHO GOT LOST AND IS THAT A BEAR NO IT'S A DRAGON NO IT'S A TREE AAAAARGH YOU'RE GOING TO DIE OUT HERE OH WAIT THERE'S THE ROAD IT'S OK.
Night Runner lives on your shoe's tongue, so have a higher level of illumination to see obstacles in front of you – plus you'll feel like you're wearing massive flippers made of pure light. We've all had that dream, right?
270 degrees of visibility will make you look like a luminous adventurer, ploughing down the path of life – plus you'll look a bit like a space traveller to small children. Win-win.