Purdue student startup creates device to track weightlifters' activity

May 4, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Weightlifters now have a fitness and personal health tracking device thanks to two students in Purdue's College of Technology, Daniel Golant and Christopher Price, who founded the startup Spotter.

"As weightlifting has become more popular, we have seen a rise in formalized weightlifting programs that have left people sitting around the gym trying to track their workouts in journals or tracking apps, rather than actually working out," Golant said. "There are solutions for cardio enthusiasts, but weightlifters are left entering information into their phones or notebooks."

Spotter allows users to track the metrics of exactly how much weight they lift, how many repetitions they do and how many sets.

"We have created a low-cost device, not much bigger than a Fitbit, that attaches to the user's barbell, dumbbell or machine plate," Golant said. "We have algorithms that can isolate repetitions of a workout, and we have also worked out how to identify what free-weight exercise a user is doing."

Golant said the device is designed to need as little user interaction as possible so people are able to work out efficiently.

"Working out is one of the few points in a person's day when they get to focus and have minimal interruptions. We want to bring back that Zen-like experience," he said. "We have configured the device to be able to pair with smartphones so that after a workout and having the device attached to each weight, users can press the 'sync' button on the device and have all their workout metrics accessible on their smartphone."

Spotter is a startup out of the Anvil, an entrepreneurial co-working space at Purdue, and was the winner of the second annual Boiler Mini-Accelerator competition.

"The Anvil has been instrumental in getting our idea off the ground. They provided us with the early-stage funding that we needed to build our prototypes, as well as training on marketing and business principles that are essential for a company to succeed," Golant said. "Through the Boiler competition we had access to Anvil advisers who were very helpful providing information on how to start a business, which we weren't familiar with."

Spotter was selected to attend Disrupt NY 2015, a technology conference for startup founders, technologists, media and investors May 4-6 in New York City.

"We are so excited to attend one of the most anticipated technology conferences in New York City," Golant said. "We really believe in our idea and think it could be the next big thing for fitness enthusiasts. We look forward to pitching our product and being part of this opportunity to learn and grow from some of the best leaders in the industry."

About Spotter

Spotter is a low-cost device that tracks metrics for weightlifters. The device records how much weight a user lifts, the number of repetitions, the number of sets and then communicates that information directly to a user's mobile device. Spotter will be able to help track a user's weightlifting routine with little interaction from the user themselves, and add certain metrics, like lift velocity, that users would otherwise be unable to track.

About the Anvil

The Anvil is a co-working space at Purdue University that serves the unique needs of students, acting as a center of creative culture in West Lafayette. The Anvil focuses on providing local and student run startups affordable office space. 

Writer: Hillary Henry, Purdue Research Foundation

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org

Source:  Daniel Golant, dgolant@purdue.edu 

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