There are quite a few wearable sensors designed to provide some high tech help getting fit, such as larklife and Fitbit. But a team of designers from Salt Lake City in the U.S. is convinced there’s room for their Amiigo, a fitness bracelet project currently going the crowdfunding route. Considering how fast the project has attracted support it seems that, yes, there is room for another player in this niche.
Like other similar products, Amiigo is a combination of software and the hardware. The hardware comprises two components: a bracelet and shoe clip, both of which are waterproof. The micro-adjustable bracelet is worn on the wrist to capture the movement of the upper body, while the shoe clip, which slides onto any shoe lace and even some shoe straps, enables detailed tracking for cycling, leg exercises, and other activities where arm movement is not present. While the shoe clip can be stored or carried around as an attachment to the bracelet and each component can function independently, to get the most of the system it’s a good idea to use both.
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The designers behind Amiigo promise it can track and identify over one hundred different activities and track specific data such as exercise type, reps, sets, duration, speed, and intensity. This translates into a more personalized experience and allows users to create and record their own exercise routines.
Amiigo also captures heart rate, blood oxygen and skin temperature data to calculate overall activity level, and number of calories burned, which gives users a better idea of how the activity affects the body.
“Amiigo is unique because we've created a gesture recognition technology. This allows the device to track much more than overall activity. It can identify things like bicep curls, squats, cycling, elliptical training, etc. so users can track more detailed activities,” said David Scott, who designed Amiigo with Abe Carter.
It gets even more personalized and creative as users can come up with their own unique routines. Once they are recorded, the device will recognize them in future workouts. Users can also set goals and compare their performance with friends. The social aspect is, in fact, at the center of Amiigo’s concept – as the name of the product alludes to (amigo is friend in Spanish and Portuguese; the extra i pumps up the cute factor).
The designers believe exercising should be a fun and social activity. The system enables sharing performance information on social networks, organizing competitions with friends – or amigos – and earning points, regardless of the type of physical activity in question. It could be running, swimming, cycling, weight-lifting, or just about any other fitness pursuit.
Both hardware components use Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to iOS devices (iPhone 4S and newer) and Android devices supporting BLE. However, Amiigo's memory can store data for hours, so a constant Bluetooth connection isn't necessary and you don't have to carry your phone while working out if you don't want to.
The Amiigo team also welcomes hackers to “play around” with the system with an open-source SDK available.
After only a couple of days on indiegogo the device is already closing in on its funding goal with the Early Bird tier that offered an Amiigo in black for US$89 having already been filled. Backers will need commit a minimum of $99 to secure one of the devices, which is still a nice saving since the product is set to retail at more than $125.
The design team details the Amiigo in the indiegogo pitch video below.