Sports wearables already take the form of wristbands, leg bands, headbands, and shirts. Now the Finnish company Myontec is bringing performance measurement and injury prevention technology directly into your gym shorts.
The machine-washable shorts contain sensors to measure electrical activity in leg muscles and monitor athletes’ heart rates, muscle load balance, and other critical factors. A phone-sized clip-on device logs sensor readings and sends them to a smartphone app via Bluetooth for real-time audio coaching during workouts.
The Mbody shorts are based on technology the company already offers to pro athletes and training centers, but the Mbody Coach app is a new product. Through a Kickstarter campaign launched this week, Myontec hopes to bring its smart shorts and an accompanying real-time audio coaching smartphone app to the running and cycling public.
“Muscle load readings and common bio signals are transmitted from the smart wear to your mobile device wirelessly and from your mobile device to your ears as a friendly, yet firm coach voice,” according to Myontec’s Kickstarter page. “With the Mbody voice feature you’ll be able to train under professional-style coaching in real-time and in any training conditions.”
The app will also provide visual alerts that athletes will be able to see at a glance during their workouts.
“If you keep the mobile application and the mobile phone in your bike, you can see in real time what is the ratio between your quads and hams,” says Myontec sales and marketing lead Janne Pylväs. “You can see the balance between your left and right side with a very easy and friendly user interface.”
Athletes who don’t want to run or bike with their phones will be able to upload the data from their shorts after their workouts, seeing graphs of stats like heart rate and muscle load, as well as maps of the routes they traveled.
“You can record it without any mobile device, and then download and activate it afterwards,” says Pylväs.
Myontec currently provides pro athletes with tailor-made clothing for other muscle groups, and hopes to expand its mass market offerings beyond shorts, assuming the Kickstarter campaign is successful.
“One of our stretch goals is, if we reach a certain level, we will provide a T-shirt monitoring heart rate,” Pylväs says.
The company plans to deliver the first full version of the technology to backers by March 2015 for a $159 pre-order price. They hope to make the product available for retail sale soon after that for $499.
“It’s [for] quite normal people, but of course they are quite active: the jogging life, three or four or five times per week,” Pylväs says.