Imagine you are moving into Warrior Iâgliding your left knee over your left ankle, inhaling as you reach your arms up and backâand a Siri-like voice pipes up: âBring more weight into the back heel.â
The voice belongs to the SmartMat, which looks and rolls up just like a regular yoga mat. But with embedded sensor technology, it actually analyzes and corrects your poses as you flow through your practice. The SmartMatâs sensors link to an app on your phone or tablet that focuses first on your alignment, then your balance and weight distribution, offering adjustments with sound (if youâre at home) or just visually on your phone or tabletâs screen (if you're in class).Â This gives you the extra personal attention you need to get the most out of every pose.
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The SmartMatâs creatorsâa team of yogis and engineersâexpect to ship the first mats next July, though you can pre-order one now for $297 (roughly the cost of 15Â $20 yoga classes).
SmartMat CEO Neyma Jahan told NPR that he thought it was only a matter of time before someone came up with this idea: âBasically I was seeing the internet of things take over.â
Heâs not exaggerating. Tracking technology is popping up on everything from snowboards to tennis rackets. Here, four more wickedÂ smart products designed to help you get better at the activities you love.
For the striker
The Adidas Smart Ball is designed for any soccer player who is haunted by a missed penalty kick. It tracks how your foot hits the ball you as youÂ practice your shotârecording data on strike point, speed, spin, and trajectoryâand then give you immediate feedback via your smartphone, so youâll never miss again. You can use it to perfect your technique on long passes, corners, and goal kicks too. ($200, amazon.com)
For the aspiring tennis pro
Babolatâs Pure Drive Play weighs no more than a regular high-performance racket, but itâs packed with gear to measure your strokes, the power of your shots, the spin you put on the ball, where the ball hits the strings, even your consistency and endurance on the court. An app on your phone then breaks down your game, so you can discover bad habits and nip them in the bud. ($299, amazon.com)
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For the gym rat
Under Armour-style apparel from a start-up called Athos monitors your workout with extreme precision. Sensors embedded in the fabric track your muscle activity, breathing, and heart rate as you squat, lunge, and lift; that data is sent to your phone, where you can see at a glance which muscles are firing and how hard theyâre working. The shirt and shorts (sold separately) areÂ available for pre-order now and ship in January. (From $298, liveathos.com)
For the shredder
The Trace, a device the size of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup that mounts to your skis, snowboard, or surfboard, can help you relive your best moments on the slopes or in the water. Trace logs everything from speed to turns to airtime. Got GoPro? The tracker will auto-edit your footage to create a highlight reel with your stats overlaid. ($200, traceup.com)