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.