Would that digitally enhanced reflection keep you motivated for the rest of the year?
A new version of before and after photos is the thought-provoking idea behind EnvisionBody, a Tampa start-up with patented technology to freeze users on a more active version of themselves while running on a treadmill, on a stationary one Ride a bike or exercise in front of an attached mirror.
The software platform was announced a year ago at CES 2020, an annual technology conference that is usually one of the largest in the world. The company hopes to launch as a standalone app in 2021 as its founder partnerships with large companies in the health and connected fitness space.
“For decades, companies have been using before and after photos to motivate people to either buy a product or exercise,” said Salina Ray, executive director of the augmented reality platform. “It only makes sense that you are using the latest technology and making it available to people through real-time video, not still images.”
Think of EnvisionBody like an immersive Snapchat lens that digitally shows what you would look like with up to 30 percent weight gain or loss.
Founded in 2013, the company has three patents covering the ability of an image to change in connection with physical exertion. The platform uses heart rate sensor data, computer vision and artificial intelligence to show your possible future outcomes based on your current body shape and the effort required for a workout.
For example, the longer you run on the treadmill, the more body improvement occurs on the screen.
The company is in the development phase and is in discussions with leading diet companies to see how it can benefit customers who want a quick look at what meal compliance could bring them, Ray said. So it’s not ready for the masses yet. However, the chief executive is also looking to partner with non-competing fitness hardware companies looking to go beyond distance learning and trending home exercise equipment. There are plans to embed the software into existing equipment either at home or at the gym.
“If the fitness machine already has a camera and a large screen, EnvisionBody can easily interface with it,” said Ray.
The company hopes to settle in the midst of a rapidly evolving networked fitness industry that is trying to take advantage of people spending more time at home and in front of screens.
The ongoing pandemic forced active Americans to step on the brakes and adapt to remote fitness. The $ 94 billion fitness industry struggled to adapt. When the gyms closed and capacity constraints arose, the studios launched apps and virtual personal training to maintain membership.
Meanwhile, fitness equipment was flying off the shelves, and high-priced items like Lululemon’s interactive mirror and Peloton’s flagship stand bike suddenly made more sense to more people. Apple also took part in the race and launched its Fitness Plus subscription service.
However, there is a chance that well-known wellness companies are not offering their customers body-altering augmented reality services or finding a way to develop competing EnvisionBody software in-house.
The workout tech start-up could face other challenges as well.
Digitally removing fat, filling in gaps and showing that it takes mountains of user data in real time on a variety of body types to get a realistic result. EnvisionBody doesn’t have that yet; Instead, it relies on existing skeleton tracking software and body measurement data from partner platforms until information can be gathered from active users.
“It’s easy to add something to the body, like the filters you see on Snapchat. It’s hard to create the illusion of something that has been removed, ”said Philippe Lewicki, senior software engineer at EnvisionBody. He also runs an augmented reality consulting agency that has worked with Marvel, Disney, and Microsoft. “We’re working on computer vision technology [that] could give the illusion that something goes away from the body when it is in motion. “
There is also no surefire way of knowing how, where or when people’s bodies will change, though the company can make predictions based on information from health professionals and analysts. There will be built-in restrictions on how much thinner or how much larger digital clones can get.
The service is primarily intended to motivate people to act by showing them what is possible, according to the company.
“As soon as the gyms reopen and the shine of companies like Peloton wears off, there must be something these companies do to keep people interested,” said Ray. “You have to be innovative, and hopefully EnvisionBody will be set to do just that at the right time.”