Midwest UX 2014 Recap: The Internet of Skiing

With the recent snowfall it only seems fitting to recap a presentation that had caught my interest since I saw it on the schedule for Midwest UX months ago. Ken Leung (@moogbot) spent thirty minutes talking about a recent side project by Normative Design. Their goal? To do for skiing what Garmin and Nike have done for cycling, running, and other outdoor activities.


I first learned about Peak around the time of last year's Midwest UX conference. The objective of this project is to create a self contained system that tracks your skiing ability over time to suggest ways of improving. Working through various stages of prototypes, from an Arduino strapped into a waterproof case to a small self contained package, the hard work has paid off with an actual pair of skis. If they ever sell versions for cross country skiing I will be first in hand with my credit card.

In some ways this talk flowed naturally from the first day's presentation of the NOAM framework. Many of the concepts though could apply just as well to any design exercise whether it be software, hardware, or a hybrid. Before you even start you should aspire to add in as many features as possible. Iterate quickly and work around constraints. Mostly importantly add some extra value - nobody needs another interface that just spits out pretty charts of how fast you descended or a clone of Garmin Connect for ski hills.

With winter making its presence known this weekend would be a great time to make yourself a warm cup of coffee, settle by the fire, and spend 30 minutes learning how you too can carve out a niche in the Internet of Things.

Video provided by the hard working Midwest UX volunteers