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SmartMat Combines Yoga with Tech to Improve Your Moves

The unity between fitness and technology is becoming stronger and stronger and those with a mind for self-improvement are running out to buy the latest health-tracking wearable or downloading all those calorie-counting apps. One fit gadget that is really making an impact after appearing at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is the SmartMat – an intelligent yoga mat which will tell you about your posture and teach you the best possible techniques.

For many of us yoga can look and feel like a bad game of Twister but the SmartMat broke out of crowdfunding to teach us the moves and set us straight – literally. What looks like your average 71” x 26” yoga mat is actually a superbly sensitive piece of equipment that can be synced with a SmartMat app for Android and iOS devices and acts as your personal instructor. Every movement you make on the SmartMat is recorded so that the app can instantly report on your balance and alignment and make suggestions to improve your body position which will help gain what the makers of SmartMat call the ‘Perfect Pose’.

The SmartMat itself has a comfortable 6mm depth and includes a flexible conductive grid which can detect between 60lbs to 300lbs of weight to determine the user’s limb positioning and whether the poses are being done correctly. This is covered by an eco-friendly custom material and the wireless ‘dongle’ part which allows it to connect with a smartphone or tablet (without the need of internet) is positioned along the front end of the mat.

This dongle is removable allowing the SmartMat to be easily rolled and transported and it doubles as a flat and stable platform to stand a mobile or tablet on. When attached, the wireless part will sit flush with the mat and is a nice and bright so little chance of catching your foot on it or not noticing it and breaking the tech. The SmartMat can also hold six hours of charge via micro USB – although we’d not recommend you run down the full charge in one workout session!

The SmartMat companion app for Android and iOS is presented in a dashboard style and offers a selection of features and programs including an ‘In Home Private’ mode that shows sequences of moves to follow on screen, along with the full instructions and also an ‘In Class Assist’ mode which can be run more discretely while at an organised or group yoga session to provide a bit of extra guidance if the mat detects that your step might be a little squiffy.

Pre-ordering for the SmartMat has begun for release in July 2015 but is a somewhat steep investment at $297 with worldwide shipping available. If you’re highly dedicated to learning a variation on the art of yoga, or maybe even already a pro looking to step up your game or improve your technique, this innovative fitness gadget may be worth your dosh.

On the other hand, if you are an absolute novice looking to find a new way to get fit and flexible but don’t have the time to fit in classes (which over time will mount up to more than £195) in the long term this might be the solution for you.