Smart Rope is a futuristic fitness prop made by the team who created the Smart Gym app, and which will eventually expand to other products like “Smart Weights.” (The valedictorian of dumbbells?)
It syncs with the app to track your number of jumps, total time, and calories burned, but the craziest part is this: while you jump, LED lights in the rope project your number of jumps so that it appears to be floating in the air in front of you.
Founder Joen Choe says he came up with the idea after discovering, with other staff at his design agency, how efficient of a workout jumping rope could be. “Once you get more into jumping rope, your sets easily go into the hundreds and thousands of jumps, and it’s just not possible to keep count,” he says. “We wanted to create a heads-up display for jump rope that allows you to easily track your progress without interrupting the workout. And we wanted the display to be immersive and fun, so you’d keep at it.”
This tricked out jump rope is not for the school yard—it’s more for the boutique fitness lover, and is priced as such. It costs $89, comes in five different sizes and gold, black, or chrome, you’ll need a micro USB cord to charge it (not included), and it syncs with Apple Watch and Under Armour’s apps. It’s also heavier than the average jump rope, so pro boxers in training might prefer to stick with the light, stringy rope that’s easier to whip around at crazy speeds.
What’s it really like? I tried it, and it took a few revolutions to figure out where to focus my gaze so I could see the floating digital projection. Once I caught it, I found it a little distracting, although it seemed like you’d likely get used to it pretty quickly.
My main question was this: for the average exerciser, is counting jumps really that necessary (aren’t intervals usually based on time?). And if so, is it really that hard to simply count? “The last thing you want to do while you’re working out is just count repetitively,” Choe promises.
Either way, it seems to be catching on. The Smart Rope is currently sold at Urban Outfitters locations and the Story concept shop in New York City, and it will soon debut in Under Armour and Best Buy stores. My advice: wear your sneakers to shop and give it a test jump before you buy. —Lisa Elaine Held
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(Photos and Video: Tangram)