Weightlifting Wearable Ahera Is Your New Gym Buddy
Tracking your gym workouts will soon be a breeze with a new wearable device from a Hong Kong fitness startup Ahera. A magnetic band—“Osia”—and its accompanying Ahera app are designed to meet the needs of those whose exercise routines tend to lean more towards the weights section of the gym, rather than the treadmill.
The device is designed to be worn either on the wrist or attached to equipment, such as barbells, and will record metrics like weight and number of reps before updating the user’s profile on the app, which operates like a cross between a social media platform where gym-goers can cheer on their friends, and a training companion, where data is logged and expert advice is offered to boost progress. Best of all, Osia is friendlier to the environment than your average sports tracker: it is made from recycled plastic and presented in plastic-free packaging.
Co-founder and CEO Rudy Bottin, built his career in the sports industry, developing products for brands like Cannondale, Scott Sports and Salomon. Growing up in France, he had swum and competed in triathlon at a national level, though he now counts trail-running as his primary form of exercise.
Big-players like exercise app Strava offer recording options for generic gym-based workouts, but, when posted onto the users’ feed, lack specific metrics and can look rather uninspiring next to intricate maps showing where others have run or cycled. For the gym-based crowd, Ahera fills a gap in the market, Bottin says.
“There’s nothing already available that has a strong social aspect to it,” he says. “People go to the gym, they do their training, then they record it—but just for themselves, and so they might lack motivation because they can’t see what others are doing. And they kind of forget their goals too. So we decided to look at all of our competitors and take everything they don't do that we felt was necessary and then implemented those things into our product.”
Work began on Ahera last September after Bottin assembled a small team of marketing and product experts, including his two sisters, Amélie and Héloïse, who specialise in branding and social media. They looked at the other options for wearables and apps on the market, and created a design that drew from the best of what they found, adding in their own distinct twist by creating both a device and an app designed for one another.
“The main way we’re different is that you can create your own training in the app, saying exactly the number of repetitions you want and the weights you want to do. Then you can save it and if you have a friend using it too, you can compare yourselves."
The team has plans for a global rollout, though the decision to launch in Hong Kong stems from the city’s insatiable appetite for new technology and strong interest in health and fitness. As of 2017, there were 743 gyms in the city, where the fitness sector is projected to bring in US$57 million this year—with wearables by far the largest segment in terms of market volume, according to research firm Statista.
“Hong Kong is a very competitive city,” Bottin says. “And people’s apartments are so tiny that they don’t spend a lot of time at home; they spend it in the gym. Hong Kong people are always looking for the latest technology to be different to their friends.”
Ahera will launch today (22 April) with a crowdfunding campaign, which the team hopes will raise US$25,000 (HK$194,000), and will put the device on track for a summer delivery. After an initial US$90 purchase (US$60 for backers), Ahera users will have full access to all facets of the app; unlike other fitness trackers, which often require in-app purchases or long-term subscription models.
See more information about Ahera and support the crowdfunding campaign at aherafitness.com. Backers can pre-order the Osia for a discounted price of US$60, will receive a protein shaker, and have their name printed on the product’s packaging.