Moov Fitness

Moov’s new exercise armband is like a GPS for users’ workouts.

Moov started a crowdfunding campaign on Thursday for its new fitness tracker which aims to improve user’s workouts by three-dimensionally mapping the objects to which it’s attached, according to tech news site CNET. Created by a team that includes two researchers from Microsoft and a former engineer from Apple, the Moov fitness band will be able to map everything from biceps to bike pedals and provide aficionados with detailed information about their workouts in real time.

CNET says that Moov is trying to obtain $40,000 for an initial release of the tracker this summer. Reportedly, in the pre-order period which currently is taking place, Moov will sell the devices for $59 each, or two for $99. It is expected to retail for $120.

The retail price is par for the course, concerning modern fitness bands. However, Moov goes beyond the simple pedometer and sleep monitoring capabilities of many products on the market. The FAQ on the company’s website provides technical specifications about band and goals for the project as a whole.

The site says that users should attach the band to any part of their body they want to measure — the ankle when running or the wrist when boxing, for instance. Currently, the band syncs with the iPhone 4s and above, and its iOS app has built-in activity programs meant to measure running, cycling, swimming, boxing, and body weight, with more to come as the app progresses.

Moov tracks a user’s body by using and accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer to provide feedback on a workout. It can make a user aware of his balance and the frequency of his movements while he is completing a task. As an example, the project home page displays a changing graphic that corresponds to the running program. It shows screenshots of what the app would look like during a run, explaining that the user’s cadence is above where he wants it to be and that his footfalls are too heavy. The screenshots also show the app suggesting that the user lean forward to improve his stride.

The Moov site describes its band as a GPS for a user’s workouts, a “virtual coach” that can both explain what is happening during a exercise routine, provide suggestions for improvement, and analyze trends over long periods. The project’s over-arching goal is to provide users with an experience comparable to that of working with an actual physical trainer. At least it will be a “close-enough experience,” FAQ states.

At an industry-competitive price, but with more capabilities than many fitness bands currently available, the Moov has the potential to be popular. It does have downsides, though, according to CNET. It doesn’t currently contain a heart-rate monitor and it doesn’t have a display screen of its own. The company is considering adding heart-rate tracking in a future model and relies on a user’s smartphone as its screen.

It does pick up some slack by being cheaper than wearables that have a built-in screen, but its main competition may not come just from presently-available devices. The Atlas and Flyfit fitness trackers, respectively in Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns, seek to provide similar real-time tracking in light, portable packages. Moov will have its hands full, come summer, and users will have a plethora of fitness band choices.

Image courtesy of Cpl. Earnest J. Barnes via Wikimedia Commons