CH alumni helping NZ athletes prepare for the Olympics
CH alumni and UC mechatronics/mechanical engineering graduates, Mathew Pottinger and Kim Hedley (both 2005-06) are helping New Zealand athletes prepare for next year’s Olympic Games with the aid of a power meter which has gained worldwide recognition.
Business partners Mat and Kim began developing the Kayak Power Meter whilst studying at UC. Mat says that the project was the highlight of his time at university. “It was the first opportunity we had to apply what we had learned from the previous years of study.”
The Kayak Power Meter can take a direct measure of the power generated by a kayak paddle stroke. This invention was awarded the Ray Meyer medal for excellence in student design. The Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand medal is awarded students who present the best final-year design project.
The Kayak Power Meter received more recognition in 2011 when it was nominated the most innovative product at the world ANT+ technology symposium in Canada.
Since then, the Kayak Power Meter has established itself as one of the most powerful tools available to kayaking athletes and coaches. It was used by the some members of the New Zealand team in the years leading up to the London Olympics, including Lisa Carrington who won a gold medal in the women's K-1 200 metres.
The Kayak Power Meter is currently being used by many national federations as a training tool for their build ups to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero.
Based in Nelson, Mat and Kim’s company One Giant Leap specialises in the design and manufacture of sports performance monitoring systems. For nearly six years, One Giant Leap has been developing devices in a range of sports including track and field, cycling, golf and snowboarding.
Kim says, “Our main focus has been on water sports – perhaps because our water sports are our personal favourites. Alongside our flagship product, the Kayak Power Meter, we’re currently developing a system for canoe and stand-up paddleboard.
“We’re also developing a water-sport specific tracking app that can allow the users of our power meters to get the most out of the data collected.
“Looking back on our time at UC, the engineering school gave us the confidence and know-how to start our own business when we completed our studies. Not only were we trained in the fundamentals of engineering, but also we were taught how to learn and develop new skills.
“Our technical strengths are what sets One Giant Leap apart from the competition. Both Mat and I can say that it was our time at Canterbury, studying towards our Bachelor of Engineering degrees, that gave us the technical strength and our advantage.”
PS: Our congratulations go to Mat who married Triona at Waitangi weekend, with Kim as his best man. We’re looking forward to seeing the photos soon.