World’s first heads-up display for swimmers

The Imagination Factory / SwimAR
Product Design
Aesthetic Model
SLA, Paint & Finishing

If you’re a runner, athlete or simply passionate about health, there are a plethora of options for tracking, monitoring and reporting on your progress. But what if you wanted the same functionality for other sports? Working with The Imagination Factory, Ogle have developed the pioneering design for a wearable and detachable heads-up display for swimmers.


The Imagination Factory are a London-based company specialising in product design and creative engineering. A human-centred approach to design has seen the firm’s work featured on the BBC, Wired and Red Bull; having worked on the Real-life Iron Man heads-up display among other projects.

When Co-Founder and Engineering Director Julian Swan was training for a triathlon, he noticed that swimming was the only aspect he couldn’t easily track his performance. The only option on the market was a waterproof watch; not a practical solution and a compromise for athletes given the options available in other sports.

This sparked the development of SwimAR; a wearable heads-up display to track and display time, distance, speed, average split times, lap numbers, target times and predicted finishing times. It uses Sony SmartEyeglass technology to provide real-time performance data to the wearer in a display that appears to float in front of the eyes.

Mark Hester, Co-Founder and Technology Director, approached Ogle to produce an exacting model for use at multiple exhibitions.

The Challenge

Whilst the design in itself was not logistically challenging for the team at Ogle, the part was extremely intricate and demanded precision when:

  • Selecting the right process, machine and material
  • Applying the specified paint and finishing
  • Assembling the individual parts

Additionally, the time allowance from receiving the CAD to delivering the model was eight working days. This tight timescale demanded a strategic approach with the utmost precision.


To ensure the part accuracy and precise finishing, the Rapid Prototyping Project manager selected to use one of the two SLA Vipers.  This machine can meet an accuracy of +0.1mm per 100mm, which was vital in ensuring all the parts, once finished, could be assembled, leaving no margin for error.

The two rubber straps required for the model to remain attached to a swimmers goggles were produced using the vacuum casting process.

The paint and finishing of the model included applying a gloss black on the inside and then lacquer on the outside. To ensure the SwimAR has the clearest viewing panel, it was masked off and sanded back to 400 grade and then lacquered in order to replicate glass.

A yellow strip was also sandwiched between the front and back for the distinctive design feature. As the area was so thin and delicate, the yellow paint was also applied around the side of the part to increase visibility.


Now that the part has been exhibited at both The Wearable Tech Show and Ideal Home Show, Ogle were keen to obtain feedback about the success of the project.

Mark Hester commented: “We needed this to be visually stunning and attract people to the stand and so Ogle were the natural choice. Having worked with them before, we knew the quality would be excellent.

We were also extremely impressed with how quickly they managed to turn the project around. They have absolutely surpassed themselves! The biggest compliment I can give is that it looks like the real thing.