Maybe the pandemic made you rethink your gym membership, or maybe you just don’t like working out in the presence of other people. Thankfully, there’s a slew of gadgets and connected equipment that can help you exercise well at home. Without proper form guidance, though, you risk using the wrong muscles for some actions or worse, you could end up hurting yourself. That’s why more recent devices like the Tempo Move or the Peloton Guide purport to watch while you exercise and teach you better form. A new smart mirror launching today promises to offer “real-time feedback through form correction as well as pacing, timing and movement feedback” through its “Motion Engine technology.” The company is called Fiture (future of fitness, get it?) and the $1,495 interactive mirror is just the beginning of its offerings.
Like the NordicTrack Vault Complete and the Lululemon-owned Mirror, the Fiture has a screen embedded inside a reflective surface. In fact, the Fiture and the Mirror both have a 43-inch display, though the former stands 12 inches taller at 68 inches. It’s also slightly wider and thicker than Lululemon’s gadget, yet surprisingly weighs 10 pounds less. At just 60 pounds, Fiture’s offering was easy enough for me to lift and move over short distances (but that’s just me flexing).
At a recent demo event, I tried out some workouts on the Fiture mirror. About 200 to 400 workouts will be available at launch, with sessions ranging from 5 to 60 minutes in length. They span categories like strength, HIIT, yoga, boxing, pilates, barre, cardio sculpt and stretching for cooldowns. You’ll need to pay a $39 monthly fee to use the device and these classes, which is similar to what Lululemon and Peloton charge with their hardware. Though Peloton allows for up to 20 user profiles, Lululemon only supports up to six, and requires a “one-year minimum commitment.” Meanwhile, Fiture lets you have up to seven users on one membership and you can subscribe month-to-month.
My personal gripes about buying hardware with mandatory subscriptions aside, I can understand charging a recurring fee for services that push out new content all the time, and Fiture said it will be adding new videos every week and that live classes are in the works.
I’m more intrigued by the ability to customize workouts. Through the companion app, you can select one of three preset durations (5, 10 or 15 minutes), the type of activity (HIIT or Strength) and the difficulty level. The system generates a set of moves, like squats, hip hinges, lunges, presses or raises — all of which you can edit by tweaking the duration of each set or number of reps. You can also add any number of exercises from Fiture’s extensive library of movements, and when you’re done, stream your custom class to the mirror.
The custom workouts won’t have a trainer walking you through the entire session like the pre-recorded ones, but I love the idea of being able to create my own targeted sets or supersets. More importantly, the device will still count your reps and monitor your form while you do those.
This is the highlight of the Fiture system. It has an onboard camera on the bottom third, and it blends so well into the looking glass that I can only see the sensor at extreme angles. The company includes a cap that magnetically attaches to the mirror so you can cover up the camera when not in use. Using 4K video captured from the camera and its “Motion Engine” algorithms, the device not only counts your reps, but it can also judge your pace. According to Fiture, if you’re flying through your reps, you should consider using heavier weights. If you’re moving too slowly through a motion, you should try something lighter.
At the demo, I did about a dozen upright rows, front and lateral raises with a pair of 8-pound barbells (which is lighter than my usual 10 to 15 pounds). In the beginning of the set, I sped through the reps, and my pace was reflected onscreen, at about eye level. I slowed down a little, and hit what Fiture deemed to be the optimal pace. Reps performed at that speed notched a higher score, but every move contributed to my total for the workout.
I tried another session that involved an Arnold overhead press and noticed that some of my reps weren’t being counted. Helpfully, a diagram popped up at the bottom right of the screen, telling me to straighten my arms when overhead. Once I started paying attention to that part of the move, the system started counting my reps again.
Fiture also offers timed sets instead of specific numbers of reps. Another session had me sitting in a chair pose for a minute, and the mirror only started counting the seconds when it determined I had sunk low enough and had my arms raised high enough. When I gave up at about 58 seconds and stood up, it stopped counting.
The mirror can also detect exercises performed on the floor, like hip thrusts, planks and mountain climbers. I blazed through about 20 hip thrusts, and Fiture counted every single one. I did struggle with keeping an eye on the onscreen trainer when doing alternate side bird-dogs, but that’s a problem with following any workout video with floorwork.
At the end of every workout, you’ll see a summary of calories burned, time spent and also your position on the app’s leaderboard. Fiture will also suggest a follow-up video that’s usually stretching for a cooldown. You can raise your hand and hold it up for a few seconds to automatically start the recommended activity, which is pretty convenient. I tried this out a few times and the camera was quite accurate at noticing when I had my arm up.
Because the Fiture isn’t touch-enabled, you’ll mostly interact with it via the companion app, the onboard volume and power buttons or by gestures. Voice control is coming, the company said, and it’ll offer options for you to pause a workout, for example. At the moment, though, after you launch a video from your phone, the app will become a remote control for the mirror, showing controls for play, pause, volume, skipping sections and fast-forwarding or rewinding in 15-second increments.
I didn’t get to test this out at the demo, but Fiture also comes with a heart rate tracker that you can strap on to see your cardio performance on the screen. You can also connect your own Bluetooth-enabled heart rate or fitness tracker, like the Apple Watch, and see your pulse on the display. For now, Fiture doesn’t offer videos that make use of that information for tailored workouts based on your real-time cardio performance, but the company said it’s looking into that option.
Based on my brief time with the Fiture mirror, I have to say the system seems sound — my glutes were sore the next day. In parts of the brightly lit event space, the onscreen video was slightly difficult to see, particularly when sunlight was streaming directly onto the surface. But in pretty much every other part of the indoor space, the display was crisp and easy to read. The background music and trainer’s voice in the workouts were also loud enough to hear.
In the fitness mirror space, Fiture is a fairly elegant option. Though it doesn’t come with equipment like resistance bands or weights (you’ll have to use your own or rely on bodyweight workouts), its motion detection and form guidance are built into the device. That’s different from the Lululemon Mirror, which, outside of live classes, requires additional connected weights to count reps and offer feedback. The Tempo Move also requires you to use its custom color-coded barbells and plates before it can effectively count your reps.
Best of all, for someone like me who lives in a tiny studio, the Fiture’s small footprint is extremely appealing. It’s also one of the best-looking smart mirrors around, and comes in five colors. But before you spend $1,500 on the Fiture mirror, I’d recommend waiting till we can do a bit more testing in the real world to see if it’s worth the big bucks.
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