Athletic wearable devices are not anything new, but a new product launching today on Indiegogo has a different take from the myriad activity trackers out there: The SmartMio connected sports muscle stimulator is designed to bring so-called electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) to enthusiast and professional athletes in a small, convenient and smartphone powered package.
The SmartMio consists of two electrodes which you can stick to your skin above the muscle group you want to work out, and a pod that houses the Bluetooth and electronic brains for the system. It’s built by Smartmissimo, a startup based out of Singapore that is focused on building wearable health and medical devices, founded by Alex Pisarev and Filip Almakov. Using a database of workout data, the SmartMio can be used to enhance workouts by delivering small doses of electrical stimulation to the muscle groups being targeted, in addition to the exercise a user is already doing.
“SmartMio is the world’s first wearable and connected electronic muscle stimulator,” Almakov explained. “It’s controllable by a companion app that has a myriad of pre-set workouts that you can use on the go. The possibilities and research on EMS have been very vast, but what we now offer people is the opportunity to take EMS with them wherever they go and train, without interruptions to their daily routines, and complementary to their regular training sessions.”
Unlike some, Smartmissimo isn’t saying EMS can replace your traditional training entirely; rather, they’re positioning the SmartMio as a way to enhance existing workout regimens, and in fact they “insist” you use it with physical exercise to get results. What it is offering is an extensive database of pre-set workouts so that you can identify what muscle or aspect of strength you want to target, and load up a customized EMS patter that works best with what you’re trying to accomplish.
“What we’re currently doing is working with different athletes and coaches from various sports and trying to understand what their objectives are, during pre-season, midseason and so on,” Pisarev said. “From that we’re creating a database of various sports, with information about which muscle groups are important to each sport, and which are complimentary. Based on that information we’ve built our workout planner, where we ask a user which sport they’re interested in, the nature of their current workout and more [and offer personalized options].”
Three members of the team are either ex- or current national level athletes, so these guys have personal experience with bodybuilding and intense training, and they also work with the leading published authority on EMS as an advisor. Pisarev himself is a former national power lifter, and still maintains a high level of recreational training.
The SmartMio is already close to production – they’ve finalized the bill of materials and have their pre-production PCB working, as well as production industrial design. They’re now working on bringing the device to the pilot run stage with their production partner, and then the next step after that will be securing certifications in the various international markets where they want to market the SmartMio.
Indiegogo backers can pre-order units for $69 starting today, with an expected ship date of November 2014. It’s a niche product, but a potentially lucrative one, especially if SmartMio can make itself essential to the world of professional training for high-impact sports, where there’s always an appetite for tech that helps increase workout efficiency and results.