Personalities

Adding AI to Sports Safety

A personal experience planted the seeds for future entrepreneurship in the mind of Carlo Ciaramelletti—the co-founder of SaPHIBeat Technologies, a Silicon Valley-based startup that develops wearable safety devices for outdoor sports devotees.

He recalls an incident that occurred while skiing in his native Italy in 2012. “After falling hard on ice, I almost hit a cluster of trees head on. Two days later I learned that another skier had tragically died in the exact same spot. The episode convinced me that, with all of today’s technology, it shouldn’t be so difficult to locate someone who desperately needs help in such situations.”

The company’s signature product is PhiPAL, which has the potential to be a game changer for skiers, cyclists, and snowboarders, among other end users. Ciaramelletti notes that, in addition to its many performance-monitoring features, “the device can be installed or integrated into outdoor sport helmets. The capability exists to add active safety system features so that users can be located by emergency personnel if need be.”

Ciaramelletti’s California roots run deep. In his early 30’s, the predecessor company to Infineon Technologies offered him a product marketing position in El Segundo. He earned an MBA from Pepperdine and worked for Texas Instruments in Santa Clara. “Whether it’s at startups or established companies, what matters is creating something that can improve people’s lives. Silicon Valley has the best ecosystem in the world for this purpose,” he says.

SaPHIBeat Technologies was awarded a patent earlier this year. Hopes are especially high for the Artificial Intelligence and in-house technology that powers PhiPAL. The company spent more than a year collecting data in tandem with search-and-rescue organizations, and engineers have established that its proprietary technology boasts a 97% accuracy rate. By being able to immediately identify danger on ski slopes or biking trails and swiftly send a help request, SaPHIBeat’s services have the potential to quite literally save lives.

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