About this project
“Do you want a smart jumprope? I don’t know, but after seeing the video below, you probably will… this thing displays your workout stats right in front of your eyes.” - Digital Trends
Smart Rope: The Evolution of a Classic
Smart Rope is an LED-embedded jump rope that works with your smartphone, creating an “anywhere, anytime” fitness experience.
We’ve created a true active fitness wearable that brings the best in new tech to a tried-and-true workout, consistently recommended by the health and wellness community.
“Tangram is bringing the jump rope into the 21st century.” - Crunch Theory
As featured in:
Why the jump rope?
“The humble jump rope has been hailed as one of the most efficient exercise tools in existence, yet it often takes a back seat to more advanced equipment. Tangram Factory is hoping to change this by upgrading its handles with sensors and adding LEDs to the rope itself.” - Cool Hunting
We’re all looking to make our health a priority - eating right and being active. We’re living longer and healthcare continues to be a huge expense for society at large. We know we need to work out more, but the time and money required don’t always make it easy.
Unfortunately, many workouts that look to fill that need are here today, gone tomorrow - just look at any “Made for TV” gadget or that huge setup in the basement that’s being used for a coat hanger, collecting dust in our basement.
“The jump rope may be the most portable and convenient cardio tool available. Relearn how to use it and you’ll be lean, spry, and well conditioned for life.” - Men’s Fitness
Jumping rope can be done just about anywhere, anytime. Think of all the reasons we don’t work out - it’s raining, we’re too busy today, we don’t want to add yet another monthly expense to the budget. If you have a few square feet and a few minutes, you can get an incredibly rewarding workout:
- 30 minutes of jump rope (10 x 3 min sessions) burns 480 calories at a moderate pace
- Works out the calves and leg muscles, shoulders and rear delts, abs, quads, hamstrings - just about every major muscle group
- Strong cardiovascular benefits but lower-impact than jogging
- Good for bone health
- Improves coordination, breathing efficiency
“You’d have to run an eight-minute mile to work off more calories than you’d burn jumping rope.” - WebMD
While the benefits of jumping rope are universally well-established, so are some of the drawbacks. It’s easy to learn, but challenging to master. It’s not easy to know how you’re progressing, since people jump at different paces and we’re all built differently. It’s also a pretty solitary activity, so it can be a challenge to stay motivated. And with many recommended interval sessions requiring jumps in the thousands, it’s almost impossible to keep an accurate count.
How do we evolve the jump rope experience?
We tackle the jump rope’s fundamental challenges, and then empower our workout with technology and smart data.
With each jump, Smart Rope displays jump data right before your eyes, creating a truly immersive workout experience that’s fun - and just as important, provides information you’ll actually use to get healthier.
"Although wearable devices have received significant attention for their ability to track an individual’s physical activity, most smartphone applications are just as accurate." - Journal of the American Medical Association
While there are plenty of wearable devices out there that can be used in fitness, nearly all of them are passive monitoring devices. The sensors in wearables are the same sensors that you already have in your smartphone - accelerometers, gyroscopes, GPS. Smart Rope makes the actual workout smarter - not just a passive monitoring wearable, but an active fitness device.
“Rather than simply monitoring movement like most passive wearables, the ‘smart rope’ incorporates the natural motion of skipping rope to accurately count jumps, track and recommend workout interval sessions, and calculate calories burned based on your body mass index (BMI).” - Designboom
Because Smart Rope works with your smartphone, we’ll be able to upgrade functionality over time. To start, we’ll focus on delivering these core features:
Counting. It’s simple enough to track how long you’ve been jumping, and it’s a good start. But everyone jumps at a different pace, and you can be sure that an elite boxer is going to be jumping a lot faster than someone just starting out. Keeping an accurate count of your jumps is important, but it’s very difficult when you’re counting into the hundreds and thousands - especially when you’re concentrating on a strenuous workout. Smart Rope displays an accurate count at all times and keeps track of each workout with your smartphone.
Calories. Burning fat and building muscle is central to many workouts. By entering your height and weight into the smartphone app, Smart Rope calculates your calories burned, using your BMI (body mass index) and jumps counted. In calorie mode, you’ll see how many calories you’re burning with each jump.
Interval Training. We all know how helpful it can be to encourage each other while we’re working out. Based on your BMI and jump rope ability, Smart Rope will provide you with goals and interval training recommendations. Our initial release will allow you to easily post your progress on Facebook, as well as challenge your other Smart Rope friends to workout goals. We’ll be baking more social integration into Smart Rope with future software releases.
What is Smart Rope?
“What really sets this new wearable apart from everything else that has been offered is the ability to show the user's stats in real-time on thin air.” - Tech Times
Our previous design work has won nearly every major accolade in the industry - if you’ve ever used a Samsung TV recently, chances are you’ve seen what we can do. Inspired by the natural flow and motion of the circular revolutions of jumping rope, we’ve created a sleek, ultra-modern design that’s simple and elegant.
“Instead of just showing a small jump counter on the handles, the Smart Rope uses 23 LED lights that actually display your jump count in mid-air while you’re in motion. The display can show up to four digits, and can also be toggled to show how many calories you’re burning, if you prefer a different sort of motivation.” - TechCrunch
We’ve embedded 23 high-quality LEDs into a proprietary, patent-pending FPCB (flexible printed circuit board) design. These LEDs can display up to four digits with clear visibility even in bright rooms, and eventually we’ll be able to display things like icons and emojis with upcoming software releases. As you jump, the LEDs display your progress right before your eyes. They’ll also illuminate as you power on and off the Smart Rope, and provide information about battery life.
The sensor technology is housed in the Smart Rope handle. Instead of using a simple gyroscopic sensor like the ones in your smartphone or other passive monitoring wearables, we’ve developed a proprietary magnetic sensor that precisely registers actual revolutions of the rope, or one complete jump. The Bluetooth 4.0 transmitter is also housed here, used to communicate with your smartphone. A single button is used to turn the Smart Rope on and off, pair the Smart Rope with your smartphone, and reset the device. Removing the button’s rubber cover reveals the mini USB port, used for charging the Smart Rope with your smartphone charger or your computer’s powered USB port.
Aside from all the digital technology involved, we’ve also elevated the physical design of the jump rope in a variety of ways. The rope is positioned at a 45 degree angle to the handle to encourage effortless, natural motion. Ball bearings are used to ensure fast, smooth revolutions. All materials are of premium quality and finish, with meticulous attention to detail.
At launch, Smart Rope will be available in three sizes:
- Small (rope length 8 ft / 243 cm): best for jumpers 5 ft - 5 ft 4 in tall (152 - 163 cm tall)
- Medium (rope length 8 ft 6 in / 258 cm): best for jumpers 5 ft 5 in - 5 ft 9 in tall (165 - 175 cm tall)
- Large (rope length 9 ft / 274 cm): best for jumpers 5 ft 10 in - 6 ft 2 in tall (178 - 188 cm tall)
- X-Large (rope length 9 ft 5 in / 287 cm): best for jumpers 6 ft 3 in tall - 6 ft 7 in tall (191 - 201 cm tall)
User Experience (UX)
Our Smart Gym app works seamlessly with Smart Rope with two-way communication. Jumps counted and workout times are broadcast to the app for tracking and monitoring, while BMI data and workout goals entered into the app are broadcast to Smart Rope to craft your custom workout.
Smart Gym works with multiple Smart Rope devices, although Bluetooth won’t allow simultaneous pairing of multiple devices. This means your family (or your CrossFit team) can use different Smart Rope devices with a single smartphone.
Keep accurate, detailed data of each workout. You’ll see how many jumps you’re taking with each interval session and how you’re improving over time. In this mode, the LEDs will display each jump counted.
By entering your height and weight, Smart Gym uses your BMI (body mass index) and each jump tracked by Smart Rope to calculate calories burned. Monitor calories burned by workout and totals per day and week. In this mode, the LEDs will display calories burned as you jump.
Smart Gym takes your BMI and jump rope ability and recommends interval training workouts, based on published guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). You can easily post your progress on your Facebook page, and challenge your Smart Rope friends to workout goals.
With future software upgrades, we’ll be building in more and more functionality into Smart Gym. With your support, our long-term vision is to build out a robust platform that connects to a variety of active fitness wearables and provides a holistic view of health and wellness. We’re already working hard on integration with Apple Health, Google Fit, and plan to develop integration with Apple Watch as soon as it’s released.
With your support
It’s been a long road getting to this point, but we’re now at a place where we feel confident in securing support for the final steps in releasing Smart Rope to the public. We’ve produced a working prototype - the handles perform beautifully, the LEDs display accurately and clearly, and we’ve reduced the thickness of the rope itself to ensure the safe housing of the FPCB system and an ideal weight for efficient jumping. The prototype also pairs seamlessly via Bluetooth to our Smart Gym app and registers each count accurately.
Your funds will go directly to the final development of the Smart Rope and Smart Gym app, and the initial production run. We are continuing to fine tune the rope itself, ensuring flexibility and ideal thickness while protecting against impact and maintaining clear visibility. This is perhaps the most intricate part of the physical development process and our electrical engineers, product designers, and software developers are all hands on deck.
The Smart Gym mobile platform has been wireframed and initial design is complete. We’ll be completing software development as well as continuing rigorous testing to ensure seamless integration with Smart Rope hardware.
We will also provide stand-alone functionality into Smart Rope, so the basic counting features can be used without a smartphone (and single workout sessions can be tracked and monitored into Smart Rope’s memory, so it can be transferred to Smart Gym later).
Portability is a great asset for Smart Rope, so we’ll also be creating a compact, easy to use package for each Smart Rope.
- Smart Rope working prototype: Complete!
- Smart Gym UX wireframes and design: Mar 2015
- Unveiling at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona: Mar 2-5, 2015
- Smart Rope and Smart Gym development and testing: Mar - Jun 2015
- Smart Rope initial production (5K units): Jul - Aug 2015
- Smart Gym app, iOS release: Aug 2015
- Smart Rope final delivery to backers: Aug - Sep 2015
- Smart Gym app, Android release: Oct 2015
With our deep expertise in each major discipline - product design, electrical and mechanical engineering, UX design and development - we estimate delivery of the finished Smart Rope in 5-6 months, by August of this year. The initial release of the Smart Gym mobile platform will be complete with this delivery, available for iOS and then Android in 1-2 months after the iOS release (to accommodate the various major Android smartphones). Firmware updates for Smart Rope and software updates for Smart Gym will allow us to continuously upgrade features and functionality, free for users.
“For us, the modern man whose attention span is shorter than leprechaun shins, Tangram Factory’s new Smart Rope might be what we need to stay motivated.” - Hi Consumption
Catch us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/smartrope
Risks and challenges
The great news is that we have a working prototype - this isn’t just a concept or an idea sketched on a napkin. As outlined previously, our main challenge is to keep enhancing the rope itself so that it protects the LED and flexible PCB architecture, while remaining thin and flexible for ideal jumping. We’ll also continue to fine tune the Smart Gym mobile platform for integration with Smart Rope, easy calorie counting and virtual trainer functionality, and social integration with Facebook.
Tangram is an award-winning multi-disciplinary design agency established in Seoul in 2008. The world’s leading brands use Tangram experiences in their most iconic products, including Samsung’s Smart TVs. We have a team of talented designers, developers, and engineers dedicated to Smart Rope, working hard to tackle the intricacies of a new-to-market product.
For this initial release, we are keeping all development and manufacturing in Korea, using best-in-class partners that we’ve worked with on countless global projects.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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