The future of personal training is here.
By Ashley Cheng, Chloe Yoo, Daniella Issa and Isaac Ng
Postura is a mock startup created as part of the Jumpstart STEM Entrepreneur program. The project aims to create smart athleisure wear to provide instant posture feedback while the wearer is exercising. The team hopes to continue developing Postura and is seeking investors and further mentorship to create a working physical prototype.
The Postura team consists of four high school students from Hong Kong, and each of us has our own diverse experiences and backgrounds. In this program, our roles are as follows:
- Daniella Issa, Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for product design and finance.
- Ashley Cheng, Chief Operating Officer, is in charge of graphic design and administrative work.
- Chloe Yoo, Chief Marketing Officer, manages branding and marketing.
- Isaac Ng, Chief Technology Officer, oversees research, and industrial design.
What is Postura?
The idea for Postura came from our experience in sports and our personal need for better posture. With the rise of the creator economy and the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of fitness influencing and the demand for home fitness equipment boomed. Thus, there is no better time to revolutionize the fitness world than now. The Postura team is on a mission to improve the exercise posture of adults worldwide, regardless of where they are on their fitness journey. Believing that good posture is the key to a healthy and active lifestyle, we hope to design athleisure wear to help you live a fit, pain-free life.
Postura hopes to create a line of sleek, comfortable and stylish athleisure wear, accurately tracking your posture during a workout using state-of-the-art motion-tracking technology. The basic athleisure package will include a full athleisure clothing set of choice and access to the free mobile app. The experience can be further enhanced by purchasing a monthly premium plan for additional benefits on top of our basic plan:
|Full athleisure set: top and bottom of choiceBluetooth connectivity to mobile device
(estimated monthly fee of US$9.99)
|Limited access to basic workout plansReal-time posture dataOverall workout insights
|Everything included in the Basic version ANDUnlimited access to workout plansCommunity featuresAnimated workout history
After choosing a workout routine on our app, users can press the “Start Workout” button to keep track of their posture through easily accessible data in the form of red, yellow and green bars. If an incorrect form is detected, the bar will turn yellow or red depending on the extent of postural misalignment. The clothing will also vibrate in the affected region to alert the user of bad posture, along with a popup on the Postura app. When users open the app, an animated figure with accompanying text descriptions will guide the user to fix their posture.
To start with, we are focusing on sports like yoga, pilates, running and weightlifting. If the product is well-received, we plan to develop further to expand to a wider array of sports such as tennis, basketball and volleyball. At Postura, we believe small and consistent improvements create powerful change. With this in mind, our eventual aim is to develop other clothing lines for daily use—even long days of sitting at a desk.
What problems are we solving?
Postura can solve a variety of problems that many adults face in this day and age, such as inconsistent posture and trainer oversight, both of which even seasoned professionals are still susceptible to. The lack of direction during workouts exponentially increases the risk of injury. Therefore, having proper posture is of the utmost importance for health and safety.
While personal trainers have been the popular option for guidance in the gym, human error is always a possibility and, as such, cannot guarantee complete accuracy. Also, personal trainers may not be affordable to many, as charges average US$65 an hour. Even when personal trainers are available and affordable, human physiques are made differently and do not respond the same way to a particular movement. If a trainee fails to maintain a correct form and the trainer cannot detect it in time, it could easily cause preventable damage to the trainee’s body. Postura aims to make personal training more accurate and cost-effective with a one-time purchase of US$199.99.
What sets Postura apart?
Postura hopes to unify existing technologies in revolutionary ways and bring new meaning to the data collected.
Inertial motion tracking is a commonly utilized technology in smart athleisure, film production, immersive gaming and other technological industries. Sensor units are embedded in the athleisure wear to measure the acceleration and angular velocity of critical contact points, including joints and major muscle groups. The data collected from these sensors is then used to calculate the range of motion and derive an accurate digital model, known as an armature, of the user.
It is worth noting, however, that solely utilizing inertial motion tracking in athleisure wear limits the accuracy of posture tracking—Postura is looking to change that. The ideal exercising posture requires both the correct body movement and the right use of muscle groups. Sometimes, the ideal form can still be achieved by overexerting incorrect muscle groups. This, however, can lead to muscle strains and other preventable injuries.
Currently, existing companies in the niche, such as NadiX and Sensoria, predominantly produce inertial motion unit (IMU)-embedded athleisure wear, which only tracks the motion of limbs but not muscle activation. In this case, if a user achieves the correct form by exerting the wrong muscle groups, the software will not be able to provide corrective feedback but deem the form correct. The lack of this feedback can result in exertion or injuries, something that we can easily prevent with the addition of muscle group activation monitoring.
Postura’s electromyography technology integrated with IMUs can provide a viable solution to this problem. Electromyography (EMG) sensors will measure the electrical intensity of muscles to determine the degree of muscle utilization. By referencing an in-house created data set, the app will determine whether users achieve the correct form while using the correct muscle group. Regional vibrations in the clothing will be programmed to alert users of the incorrect use of muscle, further minimizing the likelihood of injury. Here’s a summary of how we set ourselves apart from our competitors:
|Inertial motion trackingSurface electromyography
|Inertial motion tracking
|Separate articles of clothing (e.g. leggings and tops) are compatible with each other
Compatible for running, weightlifting, yoga and pilates
Seamless technological integration
Sensors can detect the correct use of muscle groups
Two motion sensing systems cross-reference each other to minimize the effects of sensor drifting, hence increase accuracy
|Single article of clothing (e.g. leggings only) covering only half of the body (e.g. Electricfoxy, Prevayl)
Single sport compatibility (eg. Nadi X: yoga)
Bulky attachments to athleisure
Unable to detect the right use of muscle groups (e.g. Sensoria, Nadi X)
No competitor has both posture tracking and biometrics integrated into a single piece of clothing
|US$279.00 (Nadi X’s smart yoga pants)
The motion tracking revolution
With the rise of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), motion tracking has become increasingly important in our avatar-filled world. The future of work could also have much in store.
According to Fast Company, “Thanks to a new generation of sensors that can be woven into fabric, smart apparel can precisely analyze the way you run using the same motion capture technology that is used in Hollywood.” With lowered technological barriers, motion-capture embedded clothing can be used to train workers, rapidly changing workplace conditions.
Inadequate training is one of the major factors contributing to workplace injuries. For physically demanding and production-based industries, such as automobile manufacturing and construction services, motion-tracking technology can serve as an alternative to induction programs. Motion-capture embedded clothing can provide highly accurate on-the-job training guidance to ensure workers are well-trained and mitigate the risks of workplace injuries at a new job site.
For high-risk occupations, such as police and military personnel, motion-tracking technology can be paired with AR and VR to simulate real-life emergency scenarios. More personalized feedback, such as average speed, reaction time and aerobic capabilities, can be produced to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of individuals. The technology may be able to suggest specific areas for improvement, thus enhancing work efficiency.
Postura has the potential to be at the forefront of this revolution leading to safer workplaces by making wearable motion-tracking technology more mainstream and easily accessible.
Support our journey
As young entrepreneurs, we aspire to transform our concept into a reality by being at the forefront of athleisure and wearable technologies. Our goal is to make the idealistic influencer-esque workout lifestyles we once dreamt of accessible to everyone. At this stage, we are looking for additional resources to continue developing our startup. We hope you are as eager for this venture as we are.
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Header Image Courtesy of Postura