Staying fit is hard work. That is why many people turn to personal trainers for motivation and guidance. Unfortunately, most of us do not have the bank balance to employ a fitness professional full-time. There are many apps and devices aimed at filling this role, but Vi is the first to bring some brains to the task.
This platform combines an artificially intelligent app with wireless headphones that monitor the wearer’s physiology. It means that the app can adjust each workout session to match the performance level of the wearer, and even suggest indoor routines to try on rainy days.
The hardware is based around a flexible, horseshoe-shaped necklace. It acts as the mothership from which the earbuds emerge. When in use, the buds are able to pick up the user’s heart rate. When music is not required, the buds can be attached to the ends of the necklace, or hang together like a pendant. The necklace has a few tricks of its own — an internal barometer watches overhead conditions and monitors altitude, and the microphone allows for voice control and hands-free calling.
None of this is unique, but Vi certainly is. “She” is an AI with the IQ to match Siri. The difference is, this virtual coach focuses her intelligence on fitness. By combining the data mentioned above with information gathered by Health Kit or Google Fit, she is able to offer live audio coaching.
For instance, you can set your long-term ambition, and the app will create a training programme to match. While you run, Vi will provide feedback on your pace and cadence. All of this can be controlled vocally — Vi has fast offline speech recognition — and your data is available to view in the app.
LifeBEAM, maker of Vi, is still raising funds for the project via Kickstarter, but the aim is to start shipping the first units by December. At the time of writing, backers can secure a pair of the headphones for $199, ahead of a projected retail price of $249.
Would Vi improve your workout? Tell us in the comments!