A Smart Device That Works Out For You

If you remember one of the Shopping Network’s earliest fads, a machine claiming to strengthen your muscles without the need for a workout may seem old hat. However, the SmartMio gadget may be the closest we’ll ever get to seeing a device that may actually deliver on that promise.

SmartMio will start an Indiegogo campaign tomorrow in order to raise the funds necessary to build a product that it claims will produce “significant” strength or endurance gains in six to eight weeks. The fitness gadget is essentially a trio of electrical stimulation pads controlled via a smartphone. Once affixed to a specific muscle group, the pads can be activated to stimulate muscles into contracting, thus toning them and building up strength without the need for weights.

The unit connects to a mobile device running a companion app via BlueTooth 4.0. Looking at the company’s video, the app helps users determine correct patch placement to hit one of six specific muscle groups and can wirelessly activate the appropriate “workout” to engage it. The “smart patch” app is also planned to collect some information about your muscle-building activity, including which muscles you focus on most and which muscle groups you’ve already worked out in a 24-hour period.

Intensities range from a light beginners mode to a more strenuous pro setting. Those worried about accidentally damaging their muscles are assured that SmartMio has been certified according to international medical device safety standards—but seriously, try to know your limits.

Unlike previous iterations of muscle stimulation machines, the device also claims a fairly small form factor. More than one device can be worn at a time (controlled by the same phone), and they can still be easily concealed under the average dress shirt. This sounds especially useful for individuals who live busy lifestyles and don’t have much time to hit the gym.

Nonetheless, athletes are also among those targeted. A basketball-oriented program for the SmartMio promises to increase explosive strength in your quads, calves and biceps, for example. Other ways to use the device include warming up your muscles for a big game and aiding in recovery with massage settings.

The battery will hold about a week’s charge.

Interestingly, one thing the SmartMio does not promise is weight loss—only toning and building endurance. This is likely because stimulation is on too small a scale to actively engage your cardiovascular system. Also, there’s no telling the quality of the workout as compared to weight lifting, which may engage a more complete range of muscle groups.

If successfully crowdfunded, SmartMio plans to sell the units at $149 a pop, or $289 for a pair. Project backers can pre-order units for $69 each through Indiegogo, but only on the first day.


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