Treadmills are a convenient way of ensuring you get your daily workout rain, hail or shine, but they're also large, heavy and not fit for every home. The Mini Walk from Chinese exercise equipment specialist IPO Sports takes cues from the smartphone, serving as a sleek, digitized treadmill compact enough for even small apartments or tiny homes. It meets your daily workout needs, then slides away out of sight under a bed or into a closet.

The typical treadmill tends to be a heavy combination of a chunky running base topped with an armrest frame and large digital display. Even folding treadmills can be big, heavy and difficult to deal with, making them an awkward fit for many rooms and homes.

With the Mini Walk, IPO Sports has completely reimagined the treadmill's form into something sleek, lightweight and easy to handle. Using the thin, design-focused forms of modern mobile phones as a starting point, it compacted the treadmill down to its sleekest and most essential form, a thin, stylish treaded base with integrated digital display – no upper frame, large computer or armrests needed.

In fact, the Mini Walk's surface stands just 1.9 to 3.5 inches (4.7 to 9 cm) off the ground, depending upon where you're measuring from. The full chassis stretches 55 in (140 cm) in length, providing a running surface of 47 x 18 in (120 x 46 cm).

Even if you're not a treadmill person, the Mini Walk's advantages are immediately clear. Instead of devouring the dedicated space of a traditional treadmill, the Mini Walk takes up space only when in use, before disappearing away under a bed, in a closet, behind a couch, or in another storage spot a regular treadmill would never fit. At 55 lb (25 kg), the Mini Walk is also light enough for a single person to maneuver.

Compacting the treadmill down so dramatically was no small feat. According to IPO, it took a team of five engineers close to three years to overcome hundreds of technical challenges. The company says the Mini Walk is the first treadmill that doesn't rely on welding, its aluminum and composite-heavy construction comprising just 22 components.

Without controls at the fingertips, the running experience of the Mini Walk will of course be different than other treadmills. The Mini Walk uses an infrared sensor system to adjust speed, which seems to function somewhat similarly to the system we looked at on this Ohio State prototype.

It detects the runner stepping on and starts the motor. A three-zone split provides a speed-up area at the front, steady speed zone in the middle and slow-down area at the rear. The digital display at the top provides a clear readout.

The Mini Walk won a Gold Award at the recent ISPO Munich sports show, where its price was listed at €200 (approx. US$250). We've reached out to IPO to verify that price and get distribution and availability information and will update the article accordingly.

You can see the Mini Walk in action in this short video clip.

Source: IPO Sports

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