Intel Curie hopes to make trick labeling easier in action sports

Intel hopes to take the guessing out of action sports by making trick labeling easy.

Colton Satterfield won the 2014 X Games Big Air BMX gold medal by landing a no-handed cork 7 to late barspin before finishing with a triple tailwhip. If for you, like most casual action-sports fans, that sentence read like a bunch of gibberish, fear not: Intel has unveiled a new technology, titled Intel Curie, that will help to digitize and advance sporting technology.

On Tuesday, Intel debuted Intel Curie at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco by having a bunch of BMX riders perform tricks in a bike park the company built at the Moscone Center. It showed how Curie can track, label and analyze tricks in real time while also displaying those results for the audience to see.

“Curie acts as a central device in real time, classifying the trick, and lets you analyze data and provide characteristics around that too,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at the showing. “Imagine all the sports that can be digitized. If you have that kind of power in that kind of form factor, possibilities are endless.”

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Curie is a module with a six-axis gyroscope, accelerometer and Bluetooth radio on board. In layman’s terms, that means Curie can calculate the precise rotation, speed and height of a rider by tracing the “path” the module takes. Those calculations are then compared against a programmable database that helps reveal not only which tricks riders performed, but how well they executed them.

Perhaps the most stunning aspect of the Curie technology is just how small it is: the entire module can fit on your fingertip, which allows it to be planted in both the seats and handlebars of competitors' bikes without it being invasive.

This type of technology can not only help revolutionize how action sports are judged by taking out some of the subjectivity from the judging process, but also help the casual fans so that when, say, Sage Kotsenburg pulls off a Cab double cork 1260 Holy Crail grab in the Olympics, you have a clue what that means.

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