We’ve heard all about wearable technology: notably, FitBit and Jawbone, which you wear it around your wrist, allowing it to track your fitness.
Of course, there’s Google Glass too, which is self explanatory.
But what about a fitness tracker which is attached to your ankle?
Meet FlyFit from Taiwan, which is currently looking to raise US$90,000 via crowdfunding platform Kickstarter before March 25 in order to fund the project. FlyFit is a simple ankle fitness tracker built by founder Jimmy, who has over 10 years working experience in combining hardware and software. This strength enable the team to build Flyfit into a fashionable and accurate fitness tracking device which does not look at bad as it sounds when attached to your ankle.
Motivation behind FlyFit
Jimmy and his team noticed that wristbands cannot measure cycling correctly. The wrist band counts steps or other activities by sensor vertical vibration. This is not a problem when you are walking or even when you run. However, while cycling, the cyclist is holding the handle tightly and hence, there is not much vibration on the wrist. Therefore, wristbands cannot track cycling effectively. Moreover, some users of wrist bands fitness trackers shared that they felt annoyed with their wrist bands while typing on their computer or when they sleep.
The team was passionate about fixing this issue. They found that our leg is the best position for any trackers to effectively track and measure our fitness. Flyfit measures and analyzes leg movement by gesture recognition technique. It is able to separate cycling, steps and staircase movements automatically.
Flyfit is also designed to be light and small. It fits our ankle and therefore, poses minimal interference to our daily activities, which include keyboard typing or sleeping.
“Users won’t even notice the tracker on their leg,” founder Jimmy shared with Vulcan Post.
What makes Flyfit stands out
What make Flyfit stand outs from their competitors is their recognition software and excellent waterproof hardware design. Unlike other tracking devices which use the same software bought from another companies, Jimmy developed the core algorithm and software by himself to ensure the accuracy of Flyfit.
Jimmy also redesigned the hardware to make Flyfit waterproof, even if it meant having a higher material and production cost. Since Flyfit is already waterproof, Jimmy decided to also add on a tracking function for swimming, which happened to be an extra function for more users.
Selling Taiwanese products to the world
“We have no idea what will the result be before the market sees us.”
Initially, the product was met with skepticism, as it looks like a prison anklet to them. However, Jimmy believed that he has the ability to design a fashionable and accurate tracker for human movements. Since the product debuted on Kickstarter, the market loves it.
“The market will tell you everything. Unlike big companies, we ask for the opinion of the market first. People ended up emailing us to request for Android and Windows Phone support. They also wanted extra functions. After knowing what our users want, we can easily develop our product to be more relevant to them,” Jimmy told Vulcan Post.
Flyfit was originally meant for women who regularly exercise or go to the gym. However, it turned out that many professional bikers also back the product.
Launching on Kickstarter also provided Flyfit with access to the global market, turning it into a global business. Out of the 600+ backers who pre-ordered FlyFit, over 80% of them are from USA, Europe and Australia.
“The Taiwanese market is too small. That’s why we start by doing global business on Kickstarter. In fact, the delivery cost is relatively affordable nowadays too,” Jimmy added.
Difficulties and challenges
While there has been great support from customers who are willing to place the pre-orders for FlyFit even before it is launched, it was not all rosy for the FlyFit team. Jimmy started this project since March 2013. It has been difficult for them last year, as they were short of funding and financial support. They had to use their own money to support the company’s operation. Secondly, it was very difficult to hire new employees.
It was also hard for Jimmy to find supplier for the toolings and key components of FlyFit. The business model and technology is so new, thus people had no idea what Flyfit is. This resulted in the lack of interest for any company to cooperate with the FlyFit. Fortunately, with some friends’ help, the project has successfully kicked off on Kickstarter and seeing promising results.
So do you think FlyFit will work?