Ignoring that ‘New Year’s Resolution’ is about to get a whole lot harder, but with less calorie counting.
2014 has been marked as the year of wearable, communicative technology with expectations for devices that interface with all manner of applications. At the forefront of wearable fitness tech is Atlas Wearables, a start-up in Texas who has created a small wristband that measures actual fitness expertise and improvement by recognizing each workout activity you are engaged in and measuring your performance.
Atlas, the company’s name and flagship invention, is wearable tech designed for the fitness niche. Rather than counting calories burned or steps taken (as most workout apps do), Atlas tracks and identifies specific workout activities. It then analyzes the activities and reports data to the user, defining how well the user performs each fitness task. “We can track the difference between pushups, triangle pushups, squats – the separate activities a wearer engages in,” says Mike Kasparian, Cofounder of Atlas. “Atlas is focused on tracking these specific activities and analyzing the data it receives.” Currently, Atlas is purported to know 31 exercises – ‘know’ meaning Atlas recognizes and documents a wearer performing any of those 31 exercises (that’s 30 more exercises than I know). The function of Atlas, with a workout dictionary stored in its tiny little wristband, is akin to a small, trendy personal trainer. Atlas is not the calorie burner you are looking for; rather, Atlas is a device that decides whether or not those 20 squats you just sweated through demonstrated optimal performance.
Atlas is a jackpot of algorithms created by a year plus of data collection from gyms in the Austin, Texas area and a built-in accelerometer. “We built Atlas’ database on the ‘gold standard’ of fitness by collecting and tracking workout data from fitness gurus, personal trainers and the top athletes,” says Kasparian. “Then, once the average consumer puts Atlas on, it will give them a rating of how their workout matches up to the personal trainer or fitness guru it was based upon.” Atlas has documented workouts from top fitness experts and even former NFL players. Atlas’ database not only marks it as potentially the smartest workout tech available, it essentially encourages the wearer to meet the gold standard of fitness training. Atlas even boasts the ability to learn and adapt to the wearer’s unique workout regiment, which might not be listed within the exercises already in the Atlas database.
“We started talking with Project Engineers at Stratasys Direct Manufacturing able to get a 3D Printed prototype back within a week of sending out the design files. Our wrist band is made with PolyJet Flex and other PolyJet materials, and we were really surprised at how close the flex material simulates a silicone material.”
The company turned to crowd funding on Indiegogo to further develop Atlas and, like most crowd funding projects today, found help and solutions in 3D Printing. “We started through a lot of collaboration with the Austin Small Business exchange, which introduced us to Stratasys Direct Manufacturing [a custom manufacturing service provider], who we were told had great turnaround and great overall service,” says Kasparian. “We started talking with Project Engineers at Stratasys Direct Manufacturing and we were able to get a 3D Printed prototype back within a week of sending out the design files. Our wrist band is made with PolyJet Flex and other PolyJet materials, and we were really surprised at how close the flex material simulates a silicone material.” PolyJet is a 3D Printing process best recognized for its ability to replicate fine features thanks in part to thin layer thicknesses, which range as thin as 16 microns. Its ability to emulate fine feature details has made it popular in the world of prototype modeling; it is also an incredibly fast manufacturing process with potential 24 hour turnarounds. PolyJet Flex is capable of 30 micron layer thicknesses and is ideal for reveals of industrial design features. PolyJet Gray finished with a black semi-gloss coat was used for the wristband dock and module casings. For the display sensor window, Stereolithography 3D Printing was used in conjunction with a clear material and top coat. PolyJet Flex composes the wristband itself. Kasparian and his team were so pleased with the PolyJet and PolyJet Flex results, the 3D Printed prototypes are functioning as models for photo shoots, including a recent photo shoot for TechCrunch.
The company continues to develop the design and tailor Atlas to provide the best experience for the fitness niche while increasing the amount of exercises Atlas can recognize (and its adaptability to wearers). Atlas is set to launch in the 2014 holiday season with help from crowd funding on Indiegogo. Atlas even boasts the ability to show compatibility with a number of existing fitness apps out there, in case you give up trying to become better at workouts and want to resort back to calorie counting. Either way, this device is set to give measurable value to your daily workout routine.