With the start of a new year, many people are joining the fitness bandwagon. But with gyms filling up, exercising at home seems like an attractive option, made easier with the help of technology.
One piece of tech that could become an increasingly common feature of the home workout is the smart mirror.
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Alongside the standard smart speakers and automated assistants, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has featured more unusual smart home gadgets, including Allblanc Mirror Fit, an augmented reality (AR) fitness mirror.
What is a smart mirror?
A smart mirror is a two-way mirror with cameras, electronic displays and sensors behind the glass. Most smart mirrors on the market today act as an extension of a smartphone, allowing users to browse social media feeds and view information such as the weather, the news or a daily calendar.
The retail industry has shown an interest in the technology as a way to improve shopper experience in physical stores, with some retailers installing smart mirrors that can scan clothes tags, allow shoppers to alert sales assistants or offer user-specific suggestions in some flagship stores.
Until now, the smart mirror market has been it has been largely dominated by the fashion and beauty industry. However, like wearable tech before it, the health and well-being industry is now waking up to the potential use cases of smart home devices, namely smart mirrors.
Last year, Google published a patent application for a smart mirror that uses optical sensors to monitor users’ cardiovascular health by tracking changes in appearance linked to heart disease.
The fitness industry is also following this trend. Startups such as Mirror are moving into the area of smart fitness and wellbeing, with the company launching an internet-connected mirror through which users can take part in live or on-demand instructor-led workout sessions from the comfort of their home.
The product of a collaboration between Allblanc, which develops Korean videos on social media, and smart home company COMMAX Venturus, Allblanc Mirror Fit is a mirror display-based healthcare device that enable users to learn exercises at home.
By using AR, it is possible to watch fitness videos while able to see your own reflection. The idea behind this is it is far easier to follow exercise routines this way, and by connecting to other devices such as an Apple Watch, also keep track of personal stats while doing so.
One Allblanc official explained that the device not only offers a range of different exercise routines, but also has a social element:
“Through the mirror display, you can learn yourself kickboxing, yoga, pilates, cardio and other exercises. You and your friends can also attend live fitness classes and make exercise buddies online, which is a feature of social life unseen before the age of mirror display.”
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Debuted at CES 2019, Mirror Fit will be first available in Korean later this year, before expanding to North America and Europe.
Will fitness smart mirrors catch on?
With the fitness smart mirrors currently on the market retailing at over £1,000, it is unlikely that they will become a feature in every home any time soon.
However, according to Market Insights Reports, the global smart mirror market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 10%-15% from 2018 to 2023, meaning that such technology may become more commonplace over the next few years. Forgoing the need for bulky workout equipment (as well as looking like a conventional mirror when switched off) smart mirrors with a wellness focus may be part of this trend.
With the integration of smart technology into our everyday lives, as well as an increased demand for the level of personalisation offered by smart mirrors (with smart fitness mirrors offering personalised recommendations and feedback based on the user’s metrics), they may be an alternative to often costly workout classes for tech-savvy fitness enthusiasts.