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Behold: The World’s First AI Personal Trainer

23-06-2016

A personal training machine controlled by a form of AI (artificial intelligence) is expected by some to mark the start of a new era in the fitness world when it's released in December 2016. Should personal trainers see this product as a threat to their livelihoods or as an opportunity to improve their service?

The device is called Vi. It is worn around the neck and consists of one pair of state-of-the-art earphones and one pair of aerospace-grade biosensors.

The AI communicates with a person through the headphones and advises them of what to do during their workouts, based on what the biosensors detect is going on in the person’s body. If, for example, the sensors detect that a person’s heart rate is too high, the AI will suggest they slow down.

But the software is far more than just a set of programmed responses to various sensory inputs. It uses cloud-based data aggregation to learn things about an individual that it uses to help them improve their workout performance and achieve their fitness goals.

It can analyse a wide range of data about a person and provide them with useful advice on issues such as weight management, coping with fatigue, injury prevention, stress management and running technique, and it can even develop its own adaptive training plans catered to a user’s individual requirements.

The device even has a microphone of its own built-in, along with speech recognition so that users can communicate verbally with it and engage in two-way fitness coaching while training when it’s not practical to operate a phone.

Sounds like this thing can do a personal trainer’s job, doesn’t it? A lot of personal trainers would say the same thing, which is why there is some concern in the industry that this machine and other, similar products that will surely follow it are a threat to personal trainers’ livelihoods.

Others believe this should be viewed as more of an opportunity than a threat, because they say a trainer can work with clients who own such a device and have them use it as a supplementary tool to support the work they do with the trainer, thus adding a new dimension to their service.

Vi has an accompanying mobile app that users can use to review their short-term and long-term exercise performance and fitness statistics, as well as communicate with Vi by typing text if they prefer.

The device can even function as a telephone headset, allowing users to have phone conversations with other people while training.

And of course, no wearable personal training device would be complete without the ability to play music while you’re working out. Vi integrates with leading music services.

Vi was developed by Israeli technology firm LifeBEAM and is expected to be released in the US in December 2016.

What do you think? Is this is a good thing or a bad thing for personal trainers? Please leave a comment below and tell us…

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