The benefits of running have been extolled time and time again. Experts say it can make you a better leader, can improve your brain function, and can even cure your ongoing acne issues. So perhaps it’s no wonder that more than 55 million people reported running, jogging or trail running at least once in 2017. And with a 2017 survey from Running USA reporting that more than 90% of runners like to wear a tracking device during workouts, a large segment of the running industry is devoted to wearables and running tech. But Soul Electronics, Ltd. thinks they’ve made a completely new product with Blade: wireless headphones with a heart rate monitor and real-time artificial intelligence coaching.
Blade uses A.I. coaching to help runners avoid injury and increase performance.
Blade uses gait analysis to track a runner’s heart rate, speed, distance, cadence, step length, step width, vertical oscillation, head tilt angle, stance and flight time, shock, maximum leg force, balance, and consistency,” says Angus Tsang, Soul Electronics’ vice president of engineering and leader of Blade’s product development. “As this data is received, the earbuds provide instant verbal feedback to the runner.”
Blade was introduced at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and was in development by Tsang’s team for a year before that. Though Soul Electronics has more than 20 sport- and audio-related devices on the market, Blade is only the second using artificial intelligence coaching (the first is the Run Free Pro-Bio, introduced in mid-2018.) Blade is designed to maximize runners’ performance while minimizing behavior and motions that can lead to injury or slowed athletic development. Tsang says that Soul Electronics’ mission is to position themselves as a leader in creating innovative audio fitness products, which is why they’re currently developing products that use A.I. and newly developed technologies.
Blade syncs with an app to record and track the runner’s performance stats CREDIT: SOUL ELECTRONICS, LTD.
Blade uses a small, microchip-sized motion sensor that tracks head movement and can extrapolate that motion into running data points. Because it repeats this process on every step, it’s able to quickly gather thousands of pieces of data to make highly accurate recommendations. The Soul Fit app then receives that data and tracks the runner’s stats and metrics over the course of his or her runs. While this is happening, a voice assistant is reporting data to the runner, encouraging him to make changes to his or her speed, vertical oscillation, step width, balance and more. “Each person’s A.I. feedback is personalized to align with their physical measurements and stats,” says Tsang. Runners need to input data like personal physical details and injury history before beginning an A.I.-assisted workout.