Introducing the World’s First Video Game Scoring Martial Arts Gear
In 2016 Ali Ghafour and William Sexton, both Taekwondo experts and entrepreneurs, approached us (Inertia, a product design company) with a compelling idea for a product; a connected, pressure sensitive vest that could be gamified for use in martial arts. They wanted to breathe new life into Taekwondo by creating a vest that combined the excitement of classic fighting video games (Mortal Combat™, Street Fighter™) with the origins of their beloved martial art.
The motivation for creating the vest came from the co-founders belief that Taekwondo was losing it’s appeal to fighters and spectators alike, in large part due to the design of the electronic scoring vests currently in use today. Here’s how they work: Each fighter wears a vest. The striker automatically scores 1 point when the opponent’s vest detects a strike. Although the technology in the vests have been welcomed by some for removing bias on how the sport is scored, their design has also had some unintended negative effects.
Current Vest Technology Has Unintentionally Dulled The Sport
Because the existing vests award the same score, no matter how hard one opponent strikes the other, fighters began to rely almost exclusively on the cut-kick to make contact with their opponents vest. This has caused fighters to over simplify their fighting tactics, while rendering the sport far less interesting for spectators. It’s also resulted in taller fighters (whose longer legs can make contact more easily with their opponents vests) having an unfair advantage.
As a solution, Ali & William approached Inertia to create a pressure sensitive vest (called 20/20 Armor) which is able to record a variable score by measuring the force exerted from the attackers strike. The more forceful the strike, the greater the score. The pressure sensitivity means fighters are challenged to deploy a wider variety of fighting styles and are rewarded accordingly for doing so. It also makes the sport far more entertaining for spectators to watch.
10 Game-Play Modes
If this reminds you of your favorite fighting video game, then great – because it was a core part of the product design strategy all along. Much like the energy level bar displayed in video games, each fighter begins with their vests LED energy indicator on the front displaying full energy. The first fighter to lose all their energy loses the fight. To add to the fun, in a nod to the gameplay mechanics featured in classic fighting video games (Mortal Combat™, Street Fighter™) the 20/20 Armor vest offers 10 different game-play modes.
One of the 10 game-play modes is called Invincible, where one player becomes impervious to their opponents strikes for a period of time. While adding some serious fun to the competition, the invincible mode also teaches fighters a valuable lesson in patience, as they have to wait until their opponents invincible mode expires, before their strikes are detected.
Vests Communicate Wirelessly, Automatically
The vests themselves communicate between each other wirelessly to automatically synchronize scoring and game-play modes. To prepare each vest for competition, opponents simply power-up the vests, choose a game, and bump chests to initiate a fight. If you’re not the chest-bumping type then you can tap both vests at the same time.
Sync Up With a Double Tap and Conserve Your Energy
Designed, Prototyped and Produced at Inertia in Toronto, Canada
The 20/20 Vest was designed, prototyped and produced here at Inertia. We’re a product development company based in Toronto Canada. We offer a full suite of product development services including Industrial Design, Mechanical, Electrical, Software Engineering, and Manufacturing.
Our clients come from a wide range of industries, from medical to clean tech, fitness to health and safety and consumer products. Ranging from start-ups to multinationals, our customers share in our passion and drive to develop innovative products.
To learn more about Inertia click here.
To learn more about 20/20 Armor click here.