Tech of the Week: fitness tech goes to new heights of weirdness with smart jumping rope

Single skips, double unders, triple unders; who knew you needed a smart jump rope to count for you? Do you actually want one? Or could it be a life-saver for the tech-obsessed fitness junkie.

It’s certainly not over-zealous to say that technology is over-taking every single aspect of our lives, and wearables have become a bit of a functional fashion statement in the fitness world. But really, this thing takes the cake.

It’s the Smart Rope from Korean company Tangram Factory, based in Seoul and New Jersey, currently seeking funding on KickStarter.

Coined as “the evolution of a classic”, Smart Rope is an LED-embedded jump rope that connects to your smart phone to provide real-time stats about your skipping workout. Talk about over-complication.

But with 20 days to go, it’s already at nearly 200% of its $US60,000 funding goal. That’s right, they’ve raised nearly $US120,000 already. 

Twenty three high-quality LEDs are planted into a patent-pending flexible printed circuit board that can display four digits with clear visibility, even in bright rooms. Future software updates have the potential to display things like icons and emoji’s.

Your jumping progress is updated right before your eyes, and the rope will also illuminate when it powers on and off, as well as provide battery information.

The handles, shaped like futuristic glossy steel tubes, house the sensor technology. Instead of using gyroscopic sensors, Tangram has opted for a proprietary magnetic sensor that “precisely registers actual revolutions of the rope, or one complete jump”.

There’s also a Bluetooth 4.0 transmitter in there, which is used to communicate with a smartphone. A single button turns on the rope, while removing the button’s rubber cover reveals a mini-USB port for recharging.

The rope is positioned at a 45-degree angle, supposedly to encourage more effortless and natural motion, and ball bearings are used for “fast, smooth revolutions”.

It also synchs with a dedicated app called the Smart Gym, where it can calculate workouts based on what BMI data and workout goals you’ve entered. Using that information, it can also calculate how many calories you’re burning when you’re using the rope, and all the information can be shared on Facebook.

The KickStarter campaign is set to run until April 7th, and you can get yourself an original rope for a cool US$60 (NZ$81) pledge.