Sci-fi yoga just got real. While we still await the integration of holograms, this super responsive SmartMat that senses your poses and talks to you from a device (read: if Siri taught yoga) is the next best thing upon this here Yogaship Enterprise. Heck, it’s the next best thing to having a real human friend! (See: “Her” for the yoga set.) And it comes with a slick and shadowy underwear-clad promo video. What, no disco lights?
Seeking to revolutionize home practice, the SmartMat promises to provide responsive feedback and give verbal adjustments based on its analysis of your balance and placement through special embedded sensors in real time. REAL TIME, people. Nothing can give you that kind of immediate, in the moment feedback. Nothing! Besides, well, maybe a yoga teacher? But it appears we are getting closer and closer to not needing any of all y’alls human-y assistance, so it’s probably best if you just save your time and money now and forget that yoga teacher training because you’re soon going be out Om’d by some robots. Ball and socket, indeed.
This computerized mat is also designed to give you personalized instruction so you may attain your “Perfect Pose” using advanced technology and SCIENCE.
Using calculations based on the Science of Yoga and your own individual body measurements and type, PERFECT POSE is an advanced technology that helps you deepen your practice through incremental progress on selected Asana’s and micro adjustments to find your own individual PERFECT POSE to assimilate into your daily flow.
This is where technology and the urge to measure everything annoyingly approaches competitive territory. Granted, we understand the competition is with yourself, but is that even necessary? Why add a competitive aspect to yoga where it inherently doesn’t exist? A practice that is designed to strip away the competitive nature of our ego. However, fine tuning a pose makes some sense. Perhaps this is just an issue with semantics. Because some days we just want to roll around on the mat and slither into some version of lizard pose before giving up in savasana. And THAT is perfection. It always seems sort of funny and odd that we need an app to tell us how we’ve progressed, especially in yoga.
Overall though, beyond the putting yoga teachers out of work and having us compete against ourselves to find the “perfect pose” thing, we guess this mat seems pretty cool. The best part is that they seem to have thought through a lot of the frequently asked questions and/or qualms about this piece of space age smooshiness.
Such questions as, “Why do you call it “Yoga?” Don’t you know that Yoga is a complete system consisting of 8 parts, of which Asana (physical movement) practice is only one part?”
We know. But 80% of people reading this page and probably purchasing our product won’t. We would prefer to have a minor (and socially accepted) semantic mishap rather than confuse (and possibly alienate) people who otherwise would never have the chance to experience “yoga,” asana, or whatever you would like to call it. Creating smart-products that address the other “limbs” of yoga is on our roadmap for future products as our company develops.
Products for the limbs of yoga? Like a virtual chastity belt? A satya zapper? Now, that we’re interested to see!
And what about taking over the role of humans so that one day computers shall become the dominant race amongst all living things…mmm?
Via their blog:
While there will never be a “replacement” for human intuition and instruction, what SmartMat offers can be considered a complement. A computerized brain will never be able to accurately read the thousands of elements a trained yoga teacher can decipher just by looking at the student for a moment, however at the same time a human will never be able to read the micro points of balance and equilibrium required to achieve a “Perfect Pose” based on the specific measurements of the practitioners body.
Well, ok then. We shall name ours Spock!
The only thing they don’t answer yet is cost. We don’t know how much one of these whosimatsits will sell for, but we imagine it will be somewhere around ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
Kidding, probably something in the triple digits. You can sign up on the site as an early adopter to reserve one for yourself or maybe wait. We sense a crowdfunding campaign in the near future.
We were correct about the crowdfunding campaign. They’ve already raised over $176,000, 161 percent of their original goal of $110,000 on Indiegogo. About the price, unless you jumped on this immediately and got the early bird price of $247 you’ll have to get it for $297, OR wait until the campaign ends and splurge for the $447 retail price for the high-tech mat (tablet/smartphone not included).
How did they actually configure the corrections for the “proper pose”? SmartMat founder Neyma Jahan told TechCrunch:
“There is some serious AI learning work we are doing in recognizing poses according to different body types. We are using Computer Vision, which I think is the same technology that Facebook uses for facial recognition, to recognize the heatmaps sent by the mat into specific poses based on placement and balance.
“To ‘learn’ say what is a ‘downward dog’ the process entails putting 20 people of different yoga abilities and body types on 20 SmartMats. The teacher will then call out a pose and our engineer will record those 20 people’s ‘version’ of a downward dog (with the teacher correcting them). By doing this we can establish a mean average of ‘what is a proper down dog’ across different body types, measurements and abilities. We are doing this for 62 poses to start.”