01
Mar
amiigo

Last month, we covered the Amiigo which, frankly, looks kind of awesome if it works as advertised. For those who missed it, here's the gist: you put on a bracelet and a shoe clip and the two track your workout. The system then logs that data and feeds it into some fancy software that analyzes your sessions and tells you how much weight you're losing, how many calories you're burning, and what other exercises might be right for you.

The big question that a system like this faces, of course, is one of accuracy. If the device can't really measure what you're doing reliably, then it's not going to be any good. "We agree, if the system is not accurate, it is not helpful," Amiigo's co-founder Dave Scott told us. "The system is extremely accurate and can identify more than 100 activities."

We still have to wait and see just how well they perform for ourselves, but frankly, limiting the claim to "more than 100 activities" is a little more comforting than "it just detects whatever you're doing." Obviously the latter is what everyone would want, but focusing on a small subset of all possible human actions allows the developers the ability to refine those algorithms.

Of course, the bigger question is whether or not this will encourage people to exercise. Is this just for the enthusiast, or is the Amiigo intended to convince people to get off the couch? Scott seems to think it could be both:

We are trying to create the most engaging fitness experience out there.  Amiigo will add value to the enthusiast and engage the less committed.  Amiigo provides metrics and measurement tools for those looking to get more out of their fitness experiences.  It also educates the less familiar on how to better achieve their fitness goals and encourages them to do so, not to mention the app is a place where you can compete with friends in challenges and custom competitions.

"Education" may not sound like the most enticing reason to work out, but if Angry Birds has taught us anything, it's that people do love to watch their points rack up against their friends. It's a little hard to say if something like the Amiigo will encourage people who don't already exercise to start, but giving people some tangible metric for how far they've come sounds like as good of a reason as any. Scott promises that "Amiigo has something for all commitment levels."

What about that social aspect, though? One of the biggest worries of creating a new social system is isolation. Fortunately, it won't be entirely siloed: "We will certainly integrate with existing social networks, but have worked hard to create a great platform of our own, on which users can share and compete," Scott told us.

There's also the question of that SDK. Unfortunately, we still don't have much info on what developers will be able to do once it comes out. This is a little disappointing, but Scott says he's "excited to see what the developer community can build once we do release the SDK." Well, we do love devs, but until that drops, we won't really have much to get excited about on that front.

While every Kickstarter project and new accessory has to prove its mettle, Amiigo is certainly interesting enough to garner some of our attention. How helpful have the test units been on the people currently developing it, though? In an effort to gauge the effect that the accessory has had on one of the company's co-founders, I had one last question:

Q: A lot of our readers want to know: Do you even lift?

A: I hope that the people suggesting that I don't lift have not seen the video... But yes, all of us exercise on a very regular basis.  I, myself, am an avid lifter.  

Well, the video is up above. You can judge for yourselves.

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://www.vinsonimages.com yamaha83

    i got 2 on the way when they start shipping!

    • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

      Man, I'd really buy one if I knew that they worked. I don't feel like dropping 100 bucks on a plastic device that may or may not do as promised :-/
      That said, I did back Ouya, so maybe I'll take the bite..

  • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

    I've been meaning to pick up one of them fancy fitness tools (I currently use a PokeWalker, believe it or not >_>) but with none of them available for Linux or Android, I can't use them regardless of the brand:
    Nike Fuelband is iOS/Windows only, FitBit seems to be "Galaxy S3 / Galaxy Note 2" only, which as a Galaxy Nexus owner leaves me out.
    If the Amiigo works on generic Android platforms (and the reviews are favorable :P), I'd probably buy it

    • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

      Looks like its "Bluetooth Low Energy"-only, which will leave out my old Galaxy Nexus :-/
      I'd upgrade to a Nexus 4 if it supported BLE but apparently it isn't a Google Priority. (Hopefully part of Android 5.0?)

      • http://www.vinsonimages.com yamaha83

        i was under the impression that the galaxt nexus had bluetooth low energy support.... hmmm what android phones support it?

        • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

          It has the hardware, but not the software to support BLE.
          See http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=33371

          • http://www.vinsonimages.com yamaha83

            i wonder what phone they are using to test the apps and stuff for android? do any phones support it?

          • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

            I've been researching Android fitness devices, and apparently only the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 have support for it, at least with Fitbit. (And it sounds like Fitbit had to adapt itself to the Galaxies, its not something the S3 currently has).

      • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

        The fact is, even the Galaxy Nexus has the hardware to support BLE. Google just hasn't put in the effort to make it work. I am a big stock Android fan, but I am really disappointed at how slow Google handles some deeper issues of the platform.

    • Jeff B

      Fitbit can sync with a computer.

  • Zoosh

    So.. what if you'e doing alternating bicep curls. Is the wristband going to calculate a gap of time that's about the same as the amount of time that arm 'does work' for one rep and know you're alternating? Or do you need two wristbands? Or just SOL? Is it just cardio? I wonder.

    • http://www.vinsonimages.com yamaha83

      i think its setup to assume that if you do something on one arm then you are going to do the same thing on the other. same thing with legs.

  • http://www.theandroidsite.com benmarvin

    Android Police does indeed lift on a daily basis.

  • VegasDude73

    The only problem is that it won't work with any Android phone currently. Because Android still doesn't support Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Unless I'm mistaken... it's something they want to support but even with 4.2.2 it doesn't work as far as I understand it.

  • Zyzz

    Fuuuuuaaaaarrrrrkkkk.

  • Matthew Fry

    Background music is Fortune Days by Glitch Mob for those interested. Love seeing my favorite artists in unlikely places :)

  • Celltech

    legs not even once

  • bob r

    Dave Scott obviously lifts - look at those arms. The other dude, not so much.