The Premise. You’ve watched what you’ve eaten, been walking the dog regularly, and re-repurposed that dusty, laundry rack back into a treadmill, but your weight loss has hit a plateau and you’re ready for the next level. Fitness charts, daily journals, progress analyses and beach body, here you come! On second thought, you’ll just buy a piece of equipment to handle all that stuff for you… except for the actual exercise part.
The Product. Atlas is a wrist-worn fitness tracker that can track time, heart-rate, reps, and even evaluate your form. It achieves this through 3-D tracking and a bank of (potentially, by the time of release) over 100 exercises. It can differentiate between exercises like squats and deadlifts, double curls from alternating curls, learn new exercises, and even discount exercises that aren’t done with proper form… so don’t try to cheat. It does not require dedicated software, is compatible with Fitocracy, MapMyFitness and other fitness programs, and allows you to create your own apps using its open API. Atlas is waterproof down to one meter, employs standard USB charging, has enough battery life for seven long workouts, a 30x15mm display screen, offers replacement bands, and is even left/right hand compatible.
The Pitch. Atlas’ developers worked with professional trainers, fitness gurus, and their local fitness community to keep in touch with customer needs, and develop criteria of proper exercise form. The campaign page shows off the “exercise fingerprints” it has devised, which are snapshots of the Atlas’ graphic analyses. The page also includes a FAQ section that addresses everything from international shipping to metal allergies. The well-produced video consists of the company’s CEO walking through a gym, delivering the essentials of the written pitch.
The Perks. The Atlas will run $160 ($130 for early backers), including a free six-month trial of fitness software. Perks become much more complicated, including a $900 six-pack for trainers, a $1,500 option that entitles you to preload a custom exercise to be included with every shipment, and a “developer model,” Atlas.
The Potential. Other wireless activity trackers can be had for as little as 60 bucks, on up to about $180, but none with the capacities or versatility of the Atlas. And with technology sophisticated enough to differentiate between swimming strokes, track exercises as vague and obscure as rope-climbs and battle-rope work, and help you anticipate and overcome plateaus, the Atlas may be a bit toward the pricier side, but may be the exercise tracker that workout enthusiasts have been looking for.
Julio Bermudez is a Bay Area-native freelance writer and avid BMXer who is at home whether he's banging out rhythms with a drum set or words with a keyboard.