Flo Labs' IoT Gadget Is Like Waze—for Surfers

Flo Labs packs an IoT puck with sensors to collect and share data on surf conditions and track rides

1 min read
Flo Labs' sensor package is a round puck that adheres to the front of a surfboard
Photo: Tekla Perry

West Askew, a founder of Flo Labs, says many of his mornings start with him checking multiple apps for surf, weather, and wind data; checking with friends to find out their plans; driving half an hour to a selected spot; sitting out in cold water for an hour; catching one wave; and then driving to work.

Askew, speaking at Highway1 Demo Day held in San Francisco on Wednesday, says surfers like him—along with skiers, snowboarders, kayakers and all sorts of others involved in outdoor sports—spend a lot of time checking weather and wave, or snow, or other local conditions. He says they’d like to spend less time figuring out when and where to go and more time engaging in their sports.

So he’s come up with a sort of Waze for outdoor sports, in the form of a US $150 waterproof puck that communicates with a cloud network. The puck includes a GPS, 9-axis inertial measurement unit, barometer, thermometer, and a battery that lasts two to four hours. For surfers, it reports ocean conditions and logs waves caught in real time, so a user’s friends can check in on not only water conditions, but how the surfer is doing, helping them decide whether or not to head to that spot themselves.

Flo Labs raised $275,000 in angel investment to date, Askew says. The company has started rolling out hardware to beta testers and plans to start taking preorders in July 2017 for shipping in the fourth quarter. It plans to then launch a variant for snow sports late in 2017.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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