Oxstren – how world's first smart gym glove is taking workouts to a different level

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Somewhere in Navi Mumbai, Pratik Saraogi, a fitness freak, was not happy with any of the numerous wearable fitness devices in the market.

“I owned almost every fitness wearable device in the market. The most they had were pedometers. I wanted something that could tell me how much I eat, how much cardio I do, and whether I am doing my exercises right,” said Pratik.

So he created Oxstren, an intelligent gym glove that does much more than just track steps and calories burnt -- something that not many people had explored so far.

Back in the past

Pratik, 25, a management graduate, dropped out of Purdue University to pursue a master’s degree in law from Mumbai University in 2009. He spent the next few years in the stocks and shares market before deciding to turn his obsession for fitness into a business opportunity.

Eureka moment

“I wore a lot of these wearables, but threw them away after two or three months. I wanted something that I could use in the gym that would not be too intrusive. While thinking on these lines, I zeroed down on a gym glove. I was like ‘Why should only Batman and Spiderman wear cool gloves?’” said Pratik.

He chose to build a gym glove for two reasons: a glove has large surface area, onto which multiple sensors for different health parameters can be fitted. Also, gym gloves are usually recommended by trainers for better grip during heavy workouts.

Pratik started the company during the end of last year.

What’s so special?

The gym gloves are made of leather, with a few additional sweat-resistant layers, and latex. Oxstren has patented the smart fabric that the gloves are made of.

Apart from the usual functions offered by fitness wearables, the gloves, worn in pairs, can identify exercises, using smart motion sensors (accelerometers and gyroscopes), and track fitness on a comprehensive level.

“It has the usual stuff too. But there are some cool add-ons, like the real-time heartbeat tracker that changes color on the LED-display, the breathing pattern analyzer, and the hydration tracker that alerts users if their hydration levels are too low,” said Pratik.

The hydration tracker uses a method called Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), which is a commonly used method for estimating body composition, especially body fat and total body water (TBW).

The Oxstren algorithms track sensor data from the gloves. They perform two functions before returning the feedback to the user: they evaluate the exercise forms, and guide users if their form is wrong, and also calculate the force exerted by the user on the machine, using the resistance sensors, during workouts.

Most feedback comes back to the user in the form of vibrations from the in-built vibration device in the glove.

What’s up now?

According to Pratik, who plans to raise around US $100,000 (approximately INR 65 lakhs) on Kickstarter soon, the cost of a pair of Oxstren gloves will be around INR 15,000 during the campaign, and around INR 20,000 after that.

“Usually people launch a crowdfunding campaign for R&D, but we already have a product and plan to crowdfund to develop the product further,” he said.

The product will be ready to pre-order starting next month.

A glimpse into the future

Globally, about 78% people over the age of 18 years exercise or would like to exercise, (Nielsen Global Consumer Exercise Trends Survey 2014) said Pratik. Oxstren aims to create an entire fitness ecosystem, with more products like headgear, wrist supports (development ongoing) and other fitness wearables coming up in the next few months.

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