If you like sweating, the world of tech has a lot to offer. Fitness bands promise to monitor your sweat, NordicTrack’s new rower or this crazy new Tonal system will let you sweat in the comfort of your own home, and special, high-tech shirts will help keep you cool as you sweat. But what if you like watching yourself sweat? Stay tuned: have we got something neat for you.
On Thursday, Mirror announced the general availability of its in-home fitness solution, an on-demand, interactive home gym built into what looks like an ordinary full-length mirror. But looks can be deceiving. The device is essentially a one-way mirror baked into a giant LCD screen, and behind your reflection, it lets you see a personal trainer who guides you through a variety of workouts. Hang the Mirror on a wall, unroll your yoga mat or just clear a space on the floor, and you’ve transformed a corner of your den into a home gym.
At Digital Trends, we’ve lived with a variety of modern smart mirrors — which are more beauty than brains. The Mirror is the exception to that rule. A perfectly designed interface shows up on the device while you workout, showing heart rate and your exertion level, thanks to a heart rate monitor and partnerships with most major device makers. This smartly incorporates fitness data that otherwise doesn’t efficiently tie into your exercise routine. What use is “the quantified self” if it doesn’t force you to work harder and sweat more? What use is it to learn after the fact how many calories you burned? Why not see it in real time, so you know how much farther you need to run to justify that slice of carrot cake?
Join a class — at launch, that includes cardio, strength, yoga, Pilates, barre, boxing and stretch, with levels ranging from beginner to expert – and you can see icons representing others joining you, even though they’re in their own living rooms across town or across the country. Classes are available both live and on-demand. Compete with your classmates, compare notes about which exercises were the most grueling (damn those kettle bells!), and more. Thanks to a built in camera atop the mirror, you can even snap a selfie to share your progress with classmates. The camera is not designed to record and share your workout, of course.
I’ve been personally following the growth of smart fitness devices for years. In 2014 I wore smart pants after a complete stranger gave me high tech underwear. The CEO of Flywheel sports gave me a spinning lesson last year to show off the company’s at home bikes (they’re great! I’m not). So I jumped at the chance to check out the Mirror last week. In person, the device and company are remarkably polished, a simple but elegant idea that is perfectly realized. There’s a white-glove installation service. The trainers are hand-picked and seem genuine. Classes are streamed and recorded from well thought out, black-walled studio with cameras at every angle. There’s even a finance plan: You can get Mirror for as little as $164 a month rather than dropping $1,495 on it up front. A monthly content subscription cost $39.
Waitaminute, you say. Fifteen hundred bucks? The price may seem problematic, but frankly, it’s on par with other at home equipment. Peloton’s new home treadmill costs $4,000, after all, and as the LA Times noted last year, “millennials are spending big on trendy places to sweat.”
So get off your couch and get to the gym! It’s just in the next room over, after all. And be sure to wipe the sweat off the floor when you’re done.