There’s two things Norwegians know – hardware and winter sports, so it’s natural that this new product popped up as Kickstarter opened up in the Scandinavian countries. Dubbed AlpineHawk, it’s a little electronic device that you attach to your skis or snowboard that connects to your phone though low-powered Bluetooth for both theft prevention and a number of other uses.
The project came out from the University of Oslo where three of the co-founders were studying innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s a pretty international team, with the original team from Australia, Norway, and Pakistan. With the need to get the product developed they put a tender online, and met up with their CTO Matt Makas from New Zealand, who ended up joining the team as a founder free of charge just to see it developed.
They’re scratching their own itch. Alpinetech Co-founder Simon Gazdowicz worked as a ski instructor, where his board got stolen two years ago, and co-founder Erlend Miller had his stolen on the slopes last year. So after a hard afternoon on the slops when you head into the lodge for a hot coffee or a beer or two, you’re leaving your investment into that slick snowboard or pair of skis of yours outside on sort of the honor system. To prevent thefts, Alpine Hawk senses when you’re leaving your skiis and has a motion sensor inside that doesn’t just alert when your skiis get knocked, but sets off a high-pitch alarm whenever it senses they’re getting strongly lifted up, or being carried over a distance.
“We’re really trying to get away from the whole ‘car alarm’ thing where it sets off for no reason and people ignore it,” says Gazdowicz. “The alarm will stop automatically once it senses the skis have been put back down.”
The product also has more uses, like if you’re skiing in heavy powder and a ski goes flying off, it’s rough to find out where it got buried. “When I was working in Japan they would get a meter dump every week. With this you could set off the alarm, and if it disappears you can find it in ten seconds rather than looking for it for 30 minutes,” says Gazdowicz.
With the attached iOS or Android app you can activate the alarm function, or activate the “off piste” setting where it sets off the alarm if the app senses you’re more than 2 meters away from your ski.
They’re looking to hit a NOK 600,000 goal (€72,000), but they’ve made good headway so far with NOK 36,860 (€4,400) raised in the first few days. With the funding they’ll be commercializing their prototype in the classic “we actually need this money to do this” Kickstarter sense, with the product expected to ship in October of 2015.