There's certainly no shortage of fitness tracking devices on the market. Whether you're looking to monitor your heart-rate or keep track of the calories you've burned, there's most definitely a sensor or wristband you can slap on to help optimize your workout. With cardio-focused trackers in abundance, the team behind Gymwatch is looking to muscle in on the burgeoning wearables market with a sensor that measures strength and motion, meaning it could prove more useful for those looking to gain weight rather than lose it.
Gymwatch is worn as an armband and features a built-in accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer to record movement and strength during a workout. The company says that using sports science modeling, the system is able to track strength across different forms of exercise, whether it be lifting free weights, using a pulley system or lifting your own body.
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"You choose your training load in the smartphone app and based on the motion data, we calculate the strength data." Fabian Walke, CEO at Gymwatch tells Gizmag.
The Gymwatch system relies on a series of formulas to determine various aspects of the user's strength. By measuring the rate of acceleration in relation to the training load, the system is able to measure and compile a force curve diagram.
To gauge the user's "starting strength," the system measures the increase in force in the first 30 milliseconds of the exercise, the higher the force increase, the higher the user's starting strength. By observing the slope of the force curve diagram after 30 milliseconds, the system is able to measure the user's "explosive strength" (also known as the Rate of Force Development (RFD)).
Other measurements of strength the system can produce include "speed strength", pertaining to the ability of the muscles to produce maximum force in a short amount of time and also "muscle strength," determined by the amount of torque generated by the muscle.
"For every strength component we have a special formula to calculate it," says Walke.
With motion and strength tracked in real-time, the system is able to distinguish between full and partial repetitions and provide live, spoken feedback on posture and technique. This can involve advice on whether you are lifting too quickly, working with too heavy a load or shifting away from the safe line of movement.
Users can select Guided-Mode if they would like the smartphone app to direct them through their workout or Free-Mode if they'd prefer to be left to their own devices. Either way, as the workout data is collected it is shared with the app through a built-in Bluetooth module. The app in turn synchronizes with the Gymwatch web platform, allowing users to monitor their fitness over the long term and devise training schedules accordingly.
Gymwatch is compatible with both Android and iOS and is charged via a Micro-USB port, each charge lasting somewhere between 10 and 30 days. The company has taken to Indiegogo to raise funds to fine tune its smartphone apps and web platform. Pledges of US$139 will put you in line for a single Gymwatch tracker, while a set of two is available at a pledge level of $249. The company hopes to begin shipping in July 2014.
Gymwatch's features are outlined in the video below.