Tag Archives: LEO

Smart wearable tech for fitness buffs

If organizing the proper workout has always puzzled you, a trend is developing in the wearable marketplace to help pump you up (cue Arnold Schwarzenegger voice). A new wave of high-tech gym clothing uses a series of electromyographic (EMG) sensors embedded within fabric to analyze nearly every aspect of your body while training.


The Athos system operates with a synergy of three items: the clothing, the Core, and the accompanying mobile app. The clothing features biosignal monitoring seamlessly built into performance apparel which communicates its findings back to the Bluetooth-enabled Core device.

The brains of the system, the Core, houses the ability to analyze your body through EMG sensors. The smart apparel uses this technology to track muscle effort, muscle target zones, and muscle fatigue. It even goes further to monitor heart rate and breathing patterns. This information is then fed to the mobile app where your workout can be further dissected. A user can set various targets for themselves or even correct bad form and learn to prevent injury. The app also tracks workouts and can log gains and improvements.

According to The Verge‘s Ben Popper, EMG operates upon the knowledge that, “When you move, the contraction of muscle fibers emits an electric signal which can be recorded and measured.” While most EMG units used by doctors can run up to $5,000, an Athos shirt can be had for just $99, though the Core unit costs an additional $199.


Six-time NBA All Star Jermaine O’Neal has even invested in the Redwood City, California-based smart fitness apparel startup. “When I saw Athos for the first time, my immediate thought was how much more longevity it can give athletes by allowing us to train smarter and prevent injury through a better understanding and fine tuning of our bodies,” the Golden State Warrior center explained.

Also on the high-tech wearable workout market is the Leo, marketed to endurance athletes. “We can actually use these signals to measure your lactic acid levels and alert users before they get a cramp if they are pushing the pace too hard,” Leo also utilizes EMG and can do things that were only previously possible within the confines of a doctor’s office,” Leo Founder Leonard MacEachern told The Verge.

In reality, both wearable products among a number of others are ushering in a new wave of devices that can monitor, improve, and analyze workouts for a quarter of the price of a personal trainer. As the potential for smart wearable gadgets continues to draw new entrants into the market, it is the sports and healthcare functionality that will continue to dominate shipments, ABI Research forecasts suggest.

To learn more about Athos, head on over to their home page here.

ATmega32U4 drives open source LEO ‘bot

The Creative Robotics crew has debuted LEO, an open source robotic kit powered by Atmel’s versatile ATMega32U4 microcontroller (MCU).

Additional key specs include an Arduino bootloader, 12 digital I/O pins via an I2C port expander, configurable pull up/down and interrupt capable, 6 digital I/O directly connected to the ATMega32U4 MCU, two PWM capable pins, four external interrupt capable pins, USART and I2C Serial ports, 12 analog inputs, user programmable button, as well as a ‘COMM Hood’ and ‘IO Hood’ comms expansion system.

Leo also features (dual) four wheel and tracked configurations, front and rear tactile bumpers, dual HUB-ee motor plus slave motor connections, dual wheel quadrature encoder reading (128 counts per revolution), dual motor current feedback, automatic motor disable when powered by USB, Arduino robot compatible connector/mounting holes, as well as comprehensive firmware supporting encoders, external IO, PID Speed control and a serial command set.

“LEO is the product of over a decade of design experience in building autonomous robots, experience that also inspired the creation of our HUB-ee wheels,” a Creative Robots rep explained in a recent Kickstarter post.

“Unlike most small robotic platforms on the market LEO can be reconfigured from simple symmetrical two wheel drive to four wheel drive in a matter of minutes – and [is packaged] with a pair of modular tactile bumpers at each end for basic obstacle detection.”

LEO is also quite moddable, as Makers can easily add expansion boards using a dual ‘Hood’ stacking system.

“Hoods are a bit like shields, you can use them to add functionality like extra processors, manual controls, sensors and wireless radios. We call them hoods because LEO is a vehicle (and cars have hoods) and also to differentiate them from the shield system,” said the rep.

“LEO can have two different types of hood at the same time, one for general analog and digital I/O and a second just for serial and I2C communications. This allows you to fit LEO with a Bluetooth, ZigBee or Wifi module without interfering with the general purpose I/O.”

As noted above, Leo is an open source robot project, with all the PCB schematic design files, CAD files for the bumper and caster wheel available for download under the creative commons attribution sharealike license. Software libraries will also be accessible on GitHub.

Interested in learning more? You can check out LEO’s official Kickstarter page here.