ESA title


  • ACTIVITYDemonstration Project
  • STATUSCompleted
  • THEMATIC AREAMedia, Culture and Sport

Objectives of the service

"Image credit: Capetech BV, Project : STARS"

The STARS system automates what a swim coach typically does with the stopwatch by using wireless wearable technology. On top of that, STARS also registers biomechanical information and physiological output of the body. The former are stroke rate, split times, speed and breath rate. The method of measuring physiological response is heart rate registration.

Measurements performed on the wrist and through chest straps are not desirable for a swimmer. The resistance of the water creates undesirable drag in this approach. Furthermore, the feel for the water is inhibited at these locations by using these measurement techniques. Feel for the water is an essential element in swimming which is key in performing an efficient swimming stroke. Therefore, the proposed activity measures these parameters on the head of the athlete. By measuring on the head, the data is collected in a location where swimmers are used to wearing their gear without inhibiting feel for the water and without creating significant drag.

The STARS data is linked to a mobile and tablet application and delivers workout analysis providing swimmers and coaches with a novel way to track the performance and monitor the progress of the swimmers.

Users and their needs

The user needs are evaluated through panel talks with different user groups. The user groups consist of both swimmers and coaches and are split up in groups between open water swimming and triathlon.

There is a difference in expectations between coaches and athletes on the one hand and between the sports of swimming and triathlon on the other hand. STARS is designed to address all these expectations in one system.

Service/ system concept

STARS is a wearable wireless advanced activity tracker for ambitious swimmers and/or their coaches. The system collects both biomechanical as well as physiological information and wirelessly transfers this data towards a mobile and tablet application. STARS serves as many swimmers as possible, ranging from competitive pool swimmers to open water triathletes.

Technically, this means that several subsystems need to be implemented into an electronic system, which in turn need to be inserted into a casing with high wearability for swimmers. Multiple sensors are integrated to measure the biomechanical information of the athletes. This data is parametrized to information on breathing patterns, stroke rates, pace and more. Physiological feedback is captured by a heart rate sensor. This data is parametrized to heart rate information.

The system communicates wirelessly with a tablet application which can connect with 10 devices. The latter allows for real-time monitoring of the swimmer(s) by the coach. Once a workout is done by a swimmer, the workout data is synced wirelessly with either the mobile or tablet application and hence, can be reviewed by the coach and/or athlete. 

In order to put the swimmers’ data in a broader context, both applications have access to Satellite Earth Observation data.

STARS service concept


Space Added Value

The specific space assets that contribute to the application are Satellite Navigation, Spaceflight Technologies, and Satellite Earth Observation.

Satellite Navigation is the most suitable technology available for outdoor swimming.

Spaceflight Technologies can contribute on multiple levels. The development of health sensors to track the athlete’s physiology contribute to the product. Furthermore, procedures to track humans and big data processing algorithms can be leveraged within this project to come to actionable insights for coaches and their swimmers.

Lastly, Satellite Earth Observation provides the opportunity to gather information on the environment at the location of the swimmer. Hereby, the trajectory and distance swum can be put into a broader and more correct context. This technology allows Swimtraxx to remain the most advanced swim tracker ever.

Current Status

The Demonstration Project was completed successfully, involving the active participation of more than 10 federations and coaches, representing more than 50 athletes. The overall positive feedback during the pilot stage further solidifies the STARS device's reputation as a robust and high-performing swim tracking solution.

STARS current status

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 27 November 2023