Keeping fit for most of us is a painful and soul destroying exercise in self loathing. We understand logically that we must exercise regularly and eat properly to live full and healthy lives. Step forth Lumafit, a piece of wearable technology that coaches people through keep fit exercises, provides a steady stream of information on heart rate, workout intensity and progress.
Lumafit has been designed by Irish company Zinc Software and has to date blasted past three funding targets on Kickstarter. Currently they are aiming to raise $100,000 on the crowdfunding platform. The Lumafit team are offering early backers of the product a lower price point of $79. It will retail at $99 normally. Lumafit sits over your ear and clips to your ear lobe. The team which is led by MIT Media Lab graduates Darran and Stephen Hughes have developed technology that can see your actions as they happen and measure moves like push-ups and other exercises. Lumafit can also sense tiny changes in your heart rate which allows users to assess meditation exercises.
A big win for the team to date has been their partnership with Liam Casey’s PCH International who will help the team with the manufacture and supply of the Lumafit product. The plan is to have Lumafit being shipped to customers in the next couple of months. Originally they wanted to achieve $60,000 in pre-sales on Kickstarter, they hit 70% of this target after just one week of a five week campaign and this has now been revised upwards to $100,000.
Darran and his team have plans to develop a suite of additional product features to add to the product as they continue their development.
“Our stretch goal is to adding running analysis to the Lumafit features. We can do gait analysis finding out your stride frequency, impact force and stride "flight" time (ie how much time in the air). This allows us to rate running style and suggest ways to improve. We've just added "Whats your heart age?" feature to the platform. As you get fitter you can see your heart age reduce. We're the first company in the world to provide this based on real output from the heart. Its a fantastic way to set targets that have real impact on your health.”
What is your product?
We’ve developed the Lumafit, an ear worn sports headset that tracks motion and heart activity and links to a number of apps on smartphone that help track fitness and wellness.
Unlike wrist worn fitness devices the Lumafit knows what exercise you’re doing and how well your doing it. At the gym for instance it will automatically track your session, knowing that you were 20 minutes on the treadmill and then 10 minutes on the rowing machine for example. It also tracks and rates individual bootcamp type exercises such as push ups, sit-ups , squats, ect.
As well as being a personal trainer the Lumafit is also a meditation teacher. Giving you real time guidance and feedback that you are meditating correctly, it provides a fun way to relax and boost focus any time.
How long did it take to develop Lumafit?
We’ve been developing the Lumafit for two years now. We initialy planned to launch as a meditation trainer for people interested in mindfulness. While in early development we found that tracking motion at the head had huge benefits for fitness tracking (as the head moves a lot less than the wrist). We realised combining fitness and mindfulness would provide a great solution for people looking after their health.
Tell us a little about this market?
The market for wearable sensor technology is exploding in the US. Growing at over 200% per year the market is already worth $6Billion worldwide and is quickly expected to become a $50Billion space.
The current wrist worn trackers are mainly aimed at step counting. We wanted to go way beyond this and be able to track gym and bootcamp sessions precisely so we believe we have a world beating product.
The future of digital health combines two big trends, one is behavioural, making user experiences that make being healthy more fun, the other is about data, giving people tighter feedback on their overall health and insight into how to make this data meaningful.
What is the opportunity for you and your company?
The wearable technology market is in its infancy but growing rapidly. A big player in the space, Fitbit, was a startup like us only 4 years ago so we see a big opportunity to be the next billion dollar company in the sensor and health informatics space.
Kickstarter provides a great way to tell people about your product before it’s in the stores. People on kickstarter get the inside story on the vision and story behind each project. If they like a project they get to help make it a reality. The early adopters who back you can really become evangelists for your product and help you spread the word.
Tell us about PCH relationship? How did that happen?
PCH are a very successful manufacturing company set up by Cork man Liam Casey. With over 5000 people employed PCH have huge expertise in getting product to market.
Liam started the PCH accelerator program to allow hardware startups to benefit from this expertise. We met with Liam and the PCH team a number of times and they really liked what we were creating. PCH have been an enormous help in both design and production of the device as well as access to their channel partners for consumer electronics in the US.
Tell us a little about your background?
Both myself and Stephen Hughes our CTO previously worked at MIT MediaLab. There we worked on multiple projects linking brainwave and other biological data to computer game applications. Stephen leads our sensor design bringing huge experience in hardware development include work for companies such as Sony and Philips. My own background combines 8 years research in sensor data analysis for speech and heart data with 12 years in the games industry, working as lead developer on a number of Playstation titles for Funcom here in Europe as well as Xbox titles in Microforte over in Australia.
Check out the Lumafit Kickstarter page for more information or if you want to support their campaign and buy an early version of the product.