In June, U.K.-based FX-Sport, a wearable tech start-up, will look to raise funds via Kickstarter for an advanced version of "VR2". The wearable set of mp3 headphones is the invention of a team led by Duncan Walsh, the company's founder and former British Open over 40 squash champion.
Adaptive MP3 Player
Walsh, a fitness fanatic, saw a need in the marketplace for an advanced mp3 player that could adapt to any rigid environment such as an outdoor track (which often has rainy conditions), hiking trail, weightlifting room, even a swimming pool.
But Walsh's vision is to transform wearable gadgets from electronic gear into mobile (and waterproof) conditioning coaches in which users can upload personalized workouts.
Users can obviously upload any song unto an mp3. But that's the current limitation of wearable tech since the similarity of products has commoditized the industry.
That's one of the big knocks on Apple, whose critics claim the tech giant -- especially after the passing of Steve Jobs -- no longer innovates truly differentiated products; that consumers want the industry to push the boundaries beyond the commoditized iPad and iPhone, and their Samsung imitations.
Some providers have differentiated their devices by making them waterproof, such as Utah-based Underwater Audio. Walsh believes waterproofing isn't enough because he believes these devices need to deliver high quality audio, even below water. VR2 offers higher audio quality than current competing products.
Imitation equals limitation.
VR2 and Personalized Workouts
Is there room for personalized workouts? With FX-Sport's VR2, you can upload timed workouts, whether that involves sprints up a hill, or number of bench presses with a weightlift. You can record uplifting messages into your headphones to keep you inspired when your body thinks it should stop.
"You can create your own workouts or upload to the headphones, pre-prepared training sessions from a data base of hundreds in the 'Workout Store', onto a purpose made wireless device," said Duncan Walsh in an interview with Examiner.com. "The workouts are all professionally constructed by top personal trainers."
Having a gadget act more like a (mobile) strength and conditioning coach is one innovation that will likely spark interest from the industry, and thousands of potential customers.
Walsh lists the VR2's specifications on Prefundia.com but adds that improvements to the software and user interface are needed before his invention can be ready for the mass market. That's where the Kickstarter campaign comes in; the campaign starts in early June.
Consumers, and the industry, are eagerly waiting.
For updates, you can follow FX-Sport on Twitter.