Gyms are big giant scams, but you didn’t hear it here. In addition, many at-home exercise solutions can be costly and not versatile enough for a full body workout. The XBAR is probably one of the smallest and most dynamic solutions to this problem. It consists of a bar (that looks nothing like an X), push up docks and a resistance band. By using the XBAR in different ways, it’s possible to work out your chest, shoulders, back, legs, biceps, triceps, abs, and glutes. XBAR is small and weighs less than 10 pounds, making it very portable and easy to use anywhere. Backers looking to get jacked up can donate $150 towards the $50,000 goal for this product with an estimated delivery date of June 2014.
The Premise. If it wasn’t for distractions such as work and the family, fitness would be so much simpler. Well, okay, the TV, video games, smart phone, computer, social networking, iPad and various other gadgets might have a little something to do with it too. What if there was an electronic device that could assist people with restricting such distractions?
The Product. The Fitlime Air System is a combination of hardware and software that is ironically used to keep you from some of your favorite hardware and software. A bland black loxkbox prevents use of videogame consoles while the app is used to restrict permissions on phone or tablet apps such as games. The key for the lock device can be left with a trusted friend until workout goals are completed. Fitness goals are registered in the app by the user along with the offending gadgets of distraction; the company is planning to integrate with popular exertion tracking apps and devices such as RunKeeper and the Jawbone UP.
The Pitch. The idea for the product came to founder Trevor McGerri back in 2011 while working toward his dentistry degree; the aspiring oral doctor struggled with the newest gadgets distracting him from his fitness goals and studies. The campaign video hits on the idea of distractions interfering with fitness goals by using 1960s Woodstock-style music and a guy who zones out with his smartphone when it’s time to say his name. The point is accentuated by a woman who rolls off the gym treadmill while answering her ringing smartphone. Of course, as soon as someone says they’ve never heard of such a thing, a McDonalds-style lawsuit will be splashed all over mainstream headlines on just such an event.
The Perks. Before you have the privilege of self-denial, you’ll need the discipline to send at least $74 to the campaign, which is the price for a console. This includes the hardware locking device and a remote to unlock it plus apps to connect up to 10 devices, Depending on which tier a backer selects, the estimated delivery date would be anywhere from March to May of 2014
The Potential. From the time of Odysseus and the sirens, we’ve known that precommitment can be a powerful aid in resisting temptation. More recently, we’ve seen sites such as Stickk that require you to pay money when you miss certain goals. The Aim hardware device is similar in concept to Bob, designed to control tasks such as TV watching and game playing for kids. It, like the Aim, is ineffective for battery-controlled devices such as the iPad. Fitlime is trying to set straight tech junkies, game addicts, and those who tend to get wrapped up in TV, the Internet and social networking to the point of losing track of the time once they get started. But the veneer of prevention that it provides doesn’t appear to be enough of a deterrent.
The Premise. Home gym equipment can cause more headaches than it’s worth. Between the bulkiness, awkward shapes and price associated with home machines, sometimes getting that daily exercise is best left going to an actual gym. As technology is advancing at an alarming rate, however, new equipment is hitting the market all the time, some of which seems to be an excellent alternative to the issues that have been associated with home gym machines ever since they first came out.
The Product. The Tread Pad is a new kind of workout device that utilizes touch pad technology that is operated entirely by foot. It resembles the appearance and functionality of the dance pad for the game Dance Dance Revolution, but the flashy graphics and sound of that game have been replaced with some sterile red LEDs. This likely helps conserve battery life. The device allows for continuous tracking of calories burned, distance, average speed and number of steps. Perhaps the best thing about the Tread Pad, though, is that it only weighs 10 pounds and measures in at 24”x30”, making it semi-portable and easy to store.
The Pitch. If there’s anything that hurts the Tread Pad, it’s the campaign video. It feels dated, and as serious as a heart attack it seeks to prevent. The product is being billed as a customizable, easy-to-use device that could potentially replace the type of exercise equipment we use today.
The Perks. There are only a handful of different tiers to choose from with the Tread Pad. Entry level sits around $150, which would be very reasonable for a true treadmill substitute. However, despite its billing, the Tread Pad doesn’t offer the full leg extension that a treadmill can. Also, the reward’s description as “pre-retail” leaves it unclear as whether the device itself would be a late prototype of if you’re simply getting the final version before it’s available at retail.
The Potential. The Tread Pad seems like a product destined to show up on late night infomercials but for its price. It could be helpful to have a versatile aerobic aid that can travel fairly well and store easily. And the device’s different exercise modes may help routines stay reasonably fresh. Unlike with the original Dance Dance Revolution game, though, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of joy in using it, something the campaign points out all too well.
The Premise. You’ve watched what you’ve eaten, been walking the dog regularly, and re-repurposed that dusty, laundry rack back into a treadmill, but your weight loss has hit a plateau and you’re ready for the next level. Fitness charts, daily journals, progress analyses and beach body, here you come! On second thought, you’ll just buy a piece of equipment to handle all that stuff for you… except for the actual exercise part.
The Product. Atlas is a wrist-worn fitness tracker that can track time, heart-rate, reps, and even evaluate your form. It achieves this through 3-D tracking and a bank of (potentially, by the time of release) over 100 exercises. It can differentiate between exercises like squats and deadlifts, double curls from alternating curls, learn new exercises, and even discount exercises that aren’t done with proper form… so don’t try to cheat. It does not require dedicated software, is compatible with Fitocracy, MapMyFitness and other fitness programs, and allows you to create your own apps using its open API. Atlas is waterproof down to one meter, employs standard USB charging, has enough battery life for seven long workouts, a 30x15mm display screen, offers replacement bands, and is even left/right hand compatible.
The Pitch. Atlas’ developers worked with professional trainers, fitness gurus, and their local fitness community to keep in touch with customer needs, and develop criteria of proper exercise form. The campaign page shows off the “exercise fingerprints” it has devised, which are snapshots of the Atlas’ graphic analyses. The page also includes a FAQ section that addresses everything from international shipping to metal allergies. The well-produced video consists of the company’s CEO walking through a gym, delivering the essentials of the written pitch.
The Perks. The Atlas will run $160 ($130 for early backers), including a free six-month trial of fitness software. Perks become much more complicated, including a $900 six-pack for trainers, a $1,500 option that entitles you to preload a custom exercise to be included with every shipment, and a “developer model,” Atlas.
The Potential. Other wireless activity trackers can be had for as little as 60 bucks, on up to about $180, but none with the capacities or versatility of the Atlas. And with technology sophisticated enough to differentiate between swimming strokes, track exercises as vague and obscure as rope-climbs and battle-rope work, and help you anticipate and overcome plateaus, the Atlas may be a bit toward the pricier side, but may be the exercise tracker that workout enthusiasts have been looking for.
With its primary color motif, you might think BeamBlock is a trade show prop from Google, Microsoft, eBay or some other company that has adopted four colors in their logo.Or maybe it’s a a new version of Simon that you play with your feet? Alas, it’s neither electronic nor noisy. True to its name, the simple device is a cross between a (short) balance beam and a step block. Yoga teacher, personal trainer and all-around fit Londoner Thierry Giunta abstains from actually demonstrating use of the device in the campaign video, but makes up for it with some pose photos. Alas the reward tiers are as difficult to understand as the choppy audio in the campaign video. It seems, though, that one can pick up a BeamBlock for £120, an insane amount for what appears to be a plastic block. But it may arrive on your block in March 2014.
The Premise. For many, the multi-function nature of the smartphone has provided one tool that can achieve the functionality of a GPS device, a camera, a camcorder, a digital music player and much more. Perhaps there’s a similar opportunity to create another kind of do-it-all product for tasks in the physical world beyond the Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman multitool.
The Product. The Bergaffe is, by the Austrian designers’ own description, a “simple tube” that is threaded that it can be connected to a variety of different ends to create tools used for what seems to be primarily winter sports. When broken down, the tube itself is nothing more than a small threaded cylinder designed to create “a series of tubes” as the Internet was once famously described. Bergaffe plans to create multiple connections to increase the functionality of the tool.
The Pitch. The short campaign video walks us through some of the Befgaffe’s bag of tricks, showing its use as a shovel, a rake, a tripod and, perhaps most impressively, a bench. The last trick, though, requires use of a snowboard.
The Perks. The Bergaffe is due to hit slopes in March. Backers can offer £120 for the full basic package. At that price, it certainly won’t compete well with many of the products such as a shovel and tripod that it can replace.
The Potential. One can see the use for some of Bergaffe’s current applications, but the company hasn’t really offered a tantalizing view of what lies beyond and how someone could create it in the field cost-effectively. Beyond a select group of skiers and snowboarders, this probably won’t help much, and it certainly won’t be worth the price of entry the way pricing is currently set.