I should be heading to the gym instead of writing this post but I just finished a questionnaire from the gym and casually suggested they should provide an app for records, but instantly I thought of something far better. Of course I’m a records freak (as are a lot of people, all those people wasting money, as I did, on personal fitness monitors which don’t work very well and aren’t very useful).
So, just with phone and the app, use the NFC for something more useful than paying (easy enough already, don’t need a phone to do it). When using a machine at the gym just do the NFC bump and the machine would send its id, which then triggers app to bring up your data, maximums, last few workouts, averages, goals, whatever. Then bump again to “start” your workout and bump again to end, recording the data, also instantly telling you how this major exercise session compares, to average, maximums, and goals, plus records all the data.
Now of course the machines themselves would have to have all this NFC protocol but they already have microprocessors (to control the machine, at least aerobics machines, no strength machines I’ve ever seen) and could add the NFC as well as some fairly simple software. So that’s chicken-and-egg problem, if the machines don’t do it, then the app won’t work, and without the app (and customer demand) the machines won’t add this.
But, there are other exercises that aren’t machines anyway (the various freeweights and special benches). So, fine, instead of a selfie stick or head mounted camera or Google glass, just have a little stand to put your phone in so it can watch you with its camera. A single 2D barcode sticker would be sufficient to identify the machine or apparatus, cheap to add to existing machines. Then let the app analyze the video streaming through the camera to make a guess at your workout (certainly could probably count reps, although getting resistance level might be interesting trick)
Anyway, for a data junkie like me, who’d almost rather analyze data than do the workout to generate the data, this would be great. And for me, and I believe others, a good motivator!