On Wednesday, Tangram Factory, a design agency in Seoul, launched a Kickstarter for its smart jump rope, which is almost certain to catch your eye. As you jump rope, the number of rotations is displayed on the rope itself thanks to a series of LED lights. The jump rope also connects with your iPhone via Bluetooth for more features, such as interval training. If you enter your height and weight and it will calculate how many calories you’ve burned in a given workout.
The battery-powered jump rope will count into the thousands unless you reset the counter.
“A lot of people grew up jumping rope,” said Joen Choe, president of Tangram’s North America office. “You kind of work away from it for a variety reasons. We thought jumping rope was this classic tried and true workout we could bring new technology to and sort of evolve.”
You could just track in your head how many times you’ve jumped. But Choe is confident that the smart jump rope won’t end up stuffed in the back of closets. Tangram envisions the jump rope as something that someone who is too busy to visit the gym would use in small spurts throughout the day, perhaps working toward a daily jumping goal.
“Most people are using their NordicTrack as a coat hanger in their basements these days,” Choe said. “We really wanted to veer away from a new fitness gizmo or new fitness trend or fad. This market is flooded with kind of gimmicky products.”
Tangram isn’t the only smart jump rope on Kickstarter. Sophia,which displays how much a user has jumped on its handle, is wrapping up its own campaign.
Tangram’s seems to have much more of a wow factor. Of course, so far Tangram has only delivered a prototype that hasn’t been tested independently. I’m reminded of the fawning over Coin, viewed by 9 million on YouTube, and the mixed reviews that arrived once people actually had a chance to use it.
With Tangram’s smart jump rope, viewing the number of jumps could be a challenge against light backgrounds. During its promotional video, Tangram made sure to display it against black backdrops and one brick wall.
The jump ropes will go for $60 during the Kickstarter campaign, and should be in users’ hands by September. Choe says the retail price down the road will likely be $70.