Anyone who’s ever tried to lose more than a few pounds knows the harsh raw power of the bathroom mirror and the bathroom scales. For some of us, weighing in every day and looking at ourselves naked is all the motivation we need to hit the gym and eat better.
For others, however, it can be the opposite — because it can provide a distorted picture of how well your new diet and exercise routine is working for you. Build muscle and you’ll be healthier, for example, but you may also weigh a little more. A mirror can’t show how your body is changing on the inside.
Body fat measurement is where it’s at, but good luck getting a set of scales that can tell your fat percentage with any accuracy; they’re generally anything up to 8% out.
The Naked 3D Fitness Tracker, which goes on pre-order Thursday for $499, seems poised to change the whole body measurement game. It’s an amazing, high-tech, beautifully-designed system saddled with a questionable name.
Naked Labs, the Ph.D-filled Silicon Valley startup behind the device, missed a trick not calling this the magic mirror. Because that’s exactly what it is. The mirror is equipped with Intel RealSense Depth Sensors. It scans your body while the Bluetooth-connected scales also act as a turntable.
Result: a full 3D scan of your body in 20 seconds, delivered to an app, that lets you track your body’s changes over time. The scanner can also give you a “heat map” that shows exactly where your body is growing muscle — or gaining fat — right this minute.
“Our users have loved being able to see their bodies’ changes,” says Farhad Farahbakhshian, Naked Labs CEO and founder, who has been beta-testing the device with real people since 2015. The visual feedback — especially the app’s timelapse feature that shows what looks like a clay model of your body changing over days and weeks — has kept many of his beta testers on track, he says.
And it isn’t just about users who want to build muscle or lose fat. “We have even tracked pregnancies month by month with some of our beta users so that they could see how their pregnancy changed their bodies,” Farahbakhshian says.
Here’s an example of one user who has clearly done a bunch of chest reps in the last day or so — and seems to be losing belly fat at the same time.
I got a chance to try the device out, and can confirm it looks beautiful — like something Apple would make. There are no buttons. There’s not even a readout screen on the scales. A laser pointer in the mirror lets you know exactly where to place the scales (and they work on carpet as well as solid flooring, unlike most bathroom scales.) A circle on the mirror lights up to let you know you’re being scanned.
That’s it. Everything else is in the app, which will come out for both iOS and Android. (It may also ship with the obligatory badges of encouragement, such as “tickets to the gun show” when you’ve gained bicep muscle.) Farahbakhshian tells Mashable he expects the device will be compatible with Fitbit, Apple Health and other fitness tracking systems at launch.
The technology is as accurate as the water displacement test for body fat, Farahbakhshian says — which is to say, it’ll get your fat percentage accurate to within 1.5%. You might have expected the company to price this device at a level where only gyms could purchase it, but at $499 it’s within reach for anyone who wants to get really serious about tracking their fitness.
And the fitness market is just the beginning. Naked Labs knows there’s another killer app for this technology: Clothes shopping. If you’re taking an accurate 3D model of yourself every day, that’s a godsend for companies that want to fit you into bespoke outfits, or at least duds that don’t make you look like a schlub.
Not to mention the fact that the app can see how your body is trending over time. That suggests a future where companies can design clothes not for what you look like now, but what you’ll look like in a month’s time.
We may be entering a future where your mirror will remind that you’re likely to be a little more bloated at this time of the month, say, and make clothing suggestions from your closet accordingly.
The only major bummer about the Naked scanner, other than its name, is that it won’t be shipping until March 2017. I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering what this magic mirror can do for me next year.