The Story of tgoma: The Idea that Brought the Smart Trampoline to Life

3 min read

Last week we shared the story of creating our world-first tgoma Smart Trampoline™ technology, and what went into developing the tgoma app.

Another story is where the idea of tgoma started. Doug Hill, our Springfree Trampoline Managing Director and Engineering Leader from New Zealand, shares the story behind tgoma’s creation.

The Light Bulb Moment

“I was walking through our Christchurch office carpark in New Zealand in 2010,” says Doug,

“A Springfree owner had just pulled in and parked. She had her daughter and son with her. They got out of the car. As she was headed into our office she directed the kids onto one of our display tramps and said, ‘get on the trampoline and play Moonlight while I buy the basketball hoop.’

“I overhead this and was puzzled by the instruction so I stopped and watched.  The two kids began playing a game that was highly organized, had clear rules and took them all over the mat in quick fashion, with a bunch of boundaries. The mum had stopped to make sure they were going to do what she asked and I observed to her, ‘that’s amazing.’ She said, ‘oh, that’s nothing – kids, show the man your other game.’ At that stage the seed of tgoma was sewn.  (If the ‘Mum’ in the story ever reads this, please get in contact – we’d love to thank you for your family’s inspiration).

“Clearly kids were using the trampoline for so much more than just jumping. Was there a way we could extend the enjoyment boundary of trampolines further by facilitating game play beyond the trampoline’s traditional limits?

“And so it began. I shared my thoughts with Keith. He told me about a young mechatronics student who was a trampolinist and was trying to develop a ‘time of flight’ sensor system that could tell you how high you had jumped.

“John started with his first task being to investigate sensor technology in the context of the potential application. No one knew what might work.

“We brought in a global expert in the field of signal processing and communications hardware design.  After meeting with John and looking at the problem, even he said ‘this is hard…I don’t know if it is achievable.’ We just made sure we didn’t tell John! Over the course of 2011 and 2012, John laboured, trying to find a way to log and process what was happening across the mat surface.  He hit lots of roadblocks, many significant.  We got stuck, so we brought in another world class signal processing guru to help John, and between them over the course of two years they cracked it.”

It was this journey and initial idea that resulted in Springfree introducing a world-first technology in May 2016. After conception, creation, trial, testing, reinvention and re-conception, tgoma was born, adding a whole new dimension to outdoor play and backyard fitness.

It goes to show that perseverance, faith in a great idea, dedication to innovation and a real passion to make a positive change give us the ability to achieve great things.

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