Just as exercise trackers like the Nike+ Fuelband and Jawbone UP are transitioning from the domain of self-quantifying geekdom to everyday gym-goer, a device debuting this spring threatens to disrupt the quickly growing fitness-tracking industry. Unlike competitors, Salt Lake City-based Amiigo is the first device that knows exactly which exercise its wearer is doing–whether that’s a bicep curl or a crunch, jogging or swimming–and provides rich analysis of reps, speed, and progress meeting goals accordingly. This is good for people who want to measure the output of, say, a pull-up, which the Fuelband would register as precisely zero Fuel Points.
Using a wrist band and shoe clip to sense motion, “we can gather acceleration from both the upper and the lower body,” says co-creator David Scott. “Between the two of those, that creates a signature for each movement,” which is matched up against Amiigo’s database to determine which exercise is happening.
Scott adds, “We know that people move in a variety of ways, and often unique ways, so we have a ‘record feature’ where people can actually record their own movements and add movements to the library,” which can recognize up to 100 exercises. That means hardcore yogis or P90x fanatics could supposedly teach Amiigo a pose or a variation on a standard exercise.
During each motion, the Bluetooth-equipped wristband and shoe clip transmit data to Amiigo’s smartphone app, where real-time analysis includes stats like reps, speed, heart rate, skin temperature, and calories burned. It also remembers how fast you ran or how many reps you did last time, and compares the current workout to past ones to give a sense of progress and improvement. “Over time we can use your past data to better predict and recommend workouts for you in the future,” explains cofounder Abe Carter in their Indiegogo video.
To make fitness more fun and social, Amiigo’s final piece is a social network that lets users share their workout goals and breakthroughs with friends. Users earn points when they reach fitness goals, and can wager them in competitions with friends.
The device will ship to Indiegogo backers in late spring, who already doubled its fundraising goal of $90,000. Scott hopes to start selling Amiigo online around then and is looking for distribution deals with big stores.