Thursday, October 22, 2020

Whipr| A portable 3-in-1 paddle, ski & rowing machine

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Stand-up paddle, cross-country ski & row. Get a full-sized workout, pack it down in seconds & store it next to your sneakers.

Whipr is a 3-in-1 stand-up paddle, cross country ski, and rowing machine (+ more) specifically designed for your lifestyle.   

At just 6x6x6″ (16x16x16cm) and weighing around 6lbs (2.7kg), whipr is conveniently sized to fit in any home gym, studio apartment or workout space. Get a full sized workout, pack it down in seconds and store it next to your sneakers

Whipr is also great for travel as it packs easily in your carry on bag (along with accessories) and is permitted to fly on airplanes… we’ve done it many times. 

Whipr started out as a way to replicate stand up paddling. Once the prototype was built and we started testing we realized it was so much more. Whipr is now a platform for many cardio and rep based exercises and the ecosystem can and will expand. Currently whipr has three primary modalities (exercises): 

  • Stand up paddling
  • Cross country skiing
  • Rowing

Each modality uses the same whipr base unit and is enabled by the use of accessories. You may purchase the whole package or choose just the accessories you need to match your training and exercise needs. Whipr will accept any handles, straps or bars commonly used on a regular gym cable machine (carabiner attachments)

Switching modalities is as simple as swapping whipr’s orientation and accessories. This takes takes around 15 seconds so it’s easy to set up HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sets using all three modalities. 

Whipr can be used with any cable machine attachments, like these velcro leg cuffs.

Additional modalities

SWIMMING/SURFING – Using two base units you can use our forthcoming swim and surf accessory for dry land practice and training. All backers who select two base units will recieve the swim accessory for free. 

KAYAKING – This is a much requested modality and again would need two units. We do not have plans within the scope of this campaign to release a kayak accessory but essentially it would be a paddle shaft with carabiners on either end. Several backers have decided to make their own and we can’t wait to see what they come up with!

GOLF, HOCKEY, SOCCER & MORE – In the same spirit of home mods we’ve heard from backers who plan to use whipr by attaching it to hockey sticks, golf clubs or to ankle   bands for kicking and glute work. We’ve tested these and they work great! Any ankle bands with a carabiner will work and they’re all readily available on amazon. 

After much market research we decided to offer the whipr base unit on its own and add accessories so our backers can mix and match accessories to suit their needs. This keeps costs down for you and allows for ultimate customization. 

Manually change your pledge amount to match the combination of accessories you wish to add

When pledging, please manually change the pledge amount to match the combination of base unit(s) and accessories you wish to receive. If you have already checked out you may do this manually in your account by modifying your pledge. 

If you have any pledge questions just reach out via the contact button and we’ll assist. 

The whipr base unit is essentially a miniaturized rowing machine.

with multiple modalities (exercises). It completely replaces the big, bulk rowing machines and ski-ergs that you’d usually only find in a gym, in fact to purchase equivalent quality machines for all three modalities would cost you over $4,000 and fill up a small bedroom. Whipr will cost you less than 10% of that amount and it’s around half the size of a basketball.   

Get $4,000+ worth of functionaty for less than 10%

Key Specifications

  • Size =  6.2″x6″x6″ (16cm) 
  • Weight = 6.7lbs (2.7kg) (Production model will be lighter) 
  • Pull cord length = 10 ft (3m)
  • Resistance on the catch (pull) phase of stroke = about the same as a full sized rowing machine 
  • Retraction resistance = none

Resistance Mechanism

The primary source of resistance is the planetary gearbox. Just like water, our gearbox is harder to get moving then keep moving. So once you build momentum whipr rewards your consistency with a slightly easier catch and pull (stroke), just like on the water. Additional resistance is achieved by increasing or decreasing the resistance wheel which engages magnetic resistance on the inside. You can read more about the engineering below.

Features

On the front of whipr is the pull cord, the digital screen and the inflate and deflate buttons for the inbuilt anchor. The rear of the unit features the resistance adjustment wheel as well as the inflatable anchor (the flap on the back) and the removable webbing anchor for anchoring whipr to any fixed object.

Rear view showing adjustment wheel. Webbing anchor is installed.

Prototype notes

The images you see here are of the prototype. Improvements already planned for the production model are:

  • Increased size of the inflatable anchor to cater for large door sizes and carpeted rooms
  • Finalized the magnetic closure on door anchor to secure it in place 
  • Production model will be lighter, run quieter, smoother and have more variability in resistance (similar resistance to full sized rowing machines on the market)
  • Finalized design of the digital screen (see below for more)
  • Updated the logo

In re-thinking the ERG machine we first had to figure out how to secure it. Anchoring to a door was the obvious choice but we didn’t want to be limited, so we added a webbing anchor which allows attachment to any fixed object like a tree, couch leg, fence post or tent peg. Basically anything that is heavy or securely fixed to the ground. Whipr is supplied with a webbing strap for objects up to 24″ however any webbing up to 2″ wide will work.

Inflatable door anchor in horizontal and vertical modes

An ergometer, or ERG, is simply a device that measures work or energy expended during a period of physical exercise. The technology behind our digital screen is built but our final design for the user interface has yet to be completed as we want your input. Right now we plan to display commonly used metrics like:

  • Per minute stroke rate
  • Total reps/strokes
  • Count up/down timer
  • Total distance
  • Time to complete distance
  • Calories burned
  • 500m split 

After the campaign is finished we’ll  send out a survey asking what information is most important to you to have featured. After receiving your feedback we’ll finalize the user interface, this is simple programming and is factored in our timeline. 

 Our stand up paddle shaft has been developed in collaboration with Black Project SUP, manufacturers of world championship winning paddles and fins. The paddle shaft collapses into 2 pieces (one of which houses the adjustable shaft length) and is length adjustable to suit any height. The pieces are each 17.5″ long and will easily fit inside a carry on bag (typical carry on bag height is 22-24″).

The paddle shaft is a special blend of carbon fiber that is softer then normal paddles to give it a distinctive ‘alive’ feeling in your hands. We’ve spent a lot of time playing with the right compounds to get it just right and the action is endorsed by world championship paddlers. To attach the paddle shaft simply clip the carabiner onto the whipr base unit.

Our paddle shaft, perfectly sized for travel and for paddlers large and small.
Train outdoors by anchoring to almost any fixed object. Great for bootcamps!

The cross country skiing accessory functions similarly to ski-ergs you’ll find in high-end and cross-fit gyms. Resistance is engaged with both arms (isolated single arm resistance would require two whipr base units). We’ve built this accessory to be compact and travel easily while retaining full fluid motion.  

To use the ski attachment simply unfold it, hook it over a door frame, attach the pulley to the whipr base unit hook and start skiing. The cord length is adjustable with a convenient system built into the handles and when you’re finished it folds down to just 10″x4″ for easy storage and travel. 

Ski attachment folded for storage/travel
Ski attachment cable length adjustment

The rowing accessory was a true engineering challenge! It gives the feeling and action of a full sized rower while being extremely compact. It features a 48″ track to which a sliding seat is mounted. 

The track length is suitable for individuals up to 6’8″ and is a standard length for full sized machines. 

The weight limit is yet to be fully tested but our engineers tell us to expect 300lbs+. 

When you’re finished training, the rower folds down in around 60-90 seconds and can be easily stored. 

Prototype notes 

The images you see here are of the prototype. Improvements in the production model are covered in our Update #11. To summarize we have

  • Raised and slightly lengthened the track. The foot plates are now located below the hips and ergonomics have been improved
  • Added non-slip feet (the previous version had non slip on the base, but this new version will perform slightly better on all flooring surfaces)
  • Wobble in the track and the pedestal mount under high intensity loads has been eliminated
  • Improved the method of attachment between the base unit and the pedestal (no more screw holding it in place)
  • Seat may be locked in place to accommodate different styles of paddling and adaptive users
  • Foot straps are longer and no longer velcro. Adjustment will be made with a more conventional double backed tension pull just as used on most full sized rowers
  • Faster setup and disassembly with quick connects, no small parts to lose
  • Easy snap down tension setting for solid rail feel and structural rigidity
  • Flatter, padded seat
Updated wire frame CAD drawing of the final rower design
Rower accessory taken apart (full deconstruct takes 60-90 seconds)
Plenty of room to spare when packed for travel
Demo of swimming action. User is laying on a foam roller to allow clearance on stroke. Two whipr units are used, one for each arm.

 The Swim & Surf accessory was put into development by the $500k stretch goal! We will share images in our updates as it is developed. Here’s how it to set it up:

  • Anchor 2 x whipr base units under a door at a width that is suitable for your shoulder width. For example, if you have wide shoulders you’ll set them further apart then someone with narrower shoulders. You can really fine tune the placement for your individual stroke which is a very unique feature of whipr. 
  • The Swim & Surf accessory will comprise of two handle paddles that attach to the whipr cord. Connect these to the base unit.
  • Position your own bench (such as a weight training bench, a Reebok step, cooler or tall foam block)  a few feet from the anchor point, centered with the base units.  
  • For swimming we suggest laying on your back as it frees up your lungs to work, visualize that the bench is the air and the air above you is the water. For surfing we recommend laying on your stomach as this accuratly recreates the feeling of laying on a board and paddling. 
  • Concentrate on your form and pull through the resistance exactly as you would on your board or in the water. 

All backers who select 2 base units (by adding $200 to their pledge) will receive the Swim & Surf accessory as a bonus with their shipment.

We looked at traditional rowing machines and how they provide resistance, decided to completely scrap all conventions and design the ultimate portable ERG machine from the ground up. 

To get the gearing right we started with an over-size unit, similar in size to a rowing machine you’d see at a gym, this enabled us to develop a proprietary planetary gearbox and clutch system that provides smooth resistance and a realistic paddling/rowing/skiing experience. 

Prototype #1 – Early development of the planetary gearbox

The challenge was to create resistance that is harder to get moving than it is to keep moving, just like in real life when the forward momentum of a paddler or skier results in easier stroke action, as long as momentum is maintained.

Prototype #1

Prototype #1 allowed the development of the planetary gearbox which we then miniaturized to create prototype #2. We also increased the resistance overall and added additional magnetic resistance so that your workout experience can be individualized.

Prototype #2 CAD drafting

Once we had the miniaturized planetary gearbox adjusted just right it was time to figure out how to secure whipr to a common object and make it as functional and portable as possible. We got the anchors dialed in and the whipr base unit was born.

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