Instead of a trainer – a sport suit that observes the exercises
Imagine a costume that accurately and carefully follows the processes in your body during workouts and advises you on how to perform the exercises correctly, how many times to repeat them, how to improve your technique and workout strategy. No, this is not a script for a futuristic film, but a product that is actually being created here, in Lithuania. And in order for the idea to reach consumers more smoothly and quickly, Kaunas Science and Technology Park program EVOLUT 4.0. offered the Trainer X startup their knowledge and expert advice.
Trainer X – that is how a team of enthusiasts, which combined sports and technology, named their startup. The product consists of a long-sleeve T-shirt, sports trousers, and 6 sensors that record body movements and parameters, as well as an app that analyzes the data of these sensors and provides training instructions. “Generally speaking, it is a virtual personal trainer, which, based on the physiological reaction of the body in real-time will select the most suitable physical activity for the gym visitor, adjust the biomechanics of exercises and movements, take care of a safe and effective training process,” says Mindaugas Balčiūnas, one of the co-founders of the startup.
Photo by Trainer X.
The need for such technology came from looking at simple statistics: in the first two months alone, more than 50 percent of people who engage in workouts, stop attending the gym, and indicate the lack of support during the training as one of the main reasons for quitting.
“In order for a person to feel supported during workouts, to see the training results and tangible progress, a trainer is needed. However, not everyone can afford to hire a personal trainer. According to the statistics, only one in ten visitors to a sports club does that. Therefore, the idea was born to create a technology that could be a personal trainer, which is always near and closely follows your body’s reactions,” M. Balčiunas said.
Especially since real-time virtual trainers have not yet been developed in the market for mass use, and the existing solutions are more focused on niche activities such as video games or specialized sports research. According to the creators of the startup, the price of such equipment for professional research is almost unaffordable for an ordinary gym member and their applicability is also not focused on mass use. So, all they had to do is simplify the technological solutions using the most advanced motion detection sensors currently available on the market and combine them with the knowledge of training and human physiology.
Currently, the creators of Trainer X are intensively testing the prototype and are gradually moving towards the commercialization stage. “The main lesson we learned very quickly when working on the virtual trainer, was that well-functioning stand-alone technologies may not work so well when combined into one integrated circuit. At the moment, we are trying to balance the integrity of individual technological solutions, which is an interesting and difficult challenge,” M. Balčiūnas says.
Trainer X team learned to solve not only technological but also strategic and procedural issues of startup creation and operation by participating in the leadership and new product development program EVOLUT 4.0 organized by Kaunas Science and Technology Park.
“We are very satisfied with the EVOLUT 4.0 program, its content, lecturers, and organization. This is a great opportunity to understand the startup’s evolutionary path, the challenges it faces, and to discover solutions to them. Although the program is intensive, it does not hinder participation in startup development processes. In general, I would say that this is a compulsory basic course for any startup creator,” M. Balčiūnas spoke of the program.
The further plans of Trainer X creators include the smooth completion of the product prototype, taking the first steps to commercialization, and attracting investments that would help the Lithuanian-made personal trainer to enter the global markets and gyms.