A fitness startup called Responsive Sports has
developed a pair of smart combat gloves that will tell you how hard
you are punching.
iPunch gloves connect via Bluetooth with iPhones and Android
devices to allow you to monitor how hard you are punching. They
were developed by Steven Cains, who says he likes “punching
things”. In his training in boxing, Muay Thai and Mixed Martial
Arts (MMA), he wanted a way to monitor his progress and so
developed sensor-packed gloves.
iPunch gloves have two sensors each. One to measure impact and
another is a three-axis motion sensor. The first measures when the
punch landed, and what type of punch it was. From that data, the
app can calculate punch speed, strength and type in real time.
There are also games and training tools that you can use to improve
your game. iPunch Trainer gives you directions as you hit (“left
jab, right jab, upper cut” and so on), to inspire new boxers with
routines. Three Minute Round allows you to compare your performance
to previous rounds in order to monitor progression. Test of
Strength allows you to compare your punching power to a friend’s.
You each get three attempts to land your hardest punch in order to
decide upon a winner.
You can either keep your phone in your pocket and review your
punches at the end or get your trainer to monitor your power. The
gloves stay charged for 15 hours of continuous use, or 300
three-minute rounds. You can recharge them via USB.
The gloves are currently designed as MMA gloves rather than
full-sized boxing gloves, but the iPunch team is working to offer a
larger pair. Sadly the gloves aren’t suitable for the washing
machine, which means they are likely to get a little bit stinky,
although Responsive Sports promises they are “wipe clean”.
The biggest challenge, according to Cains, has been making the
punch type calculation adaptive. He told Wired.co.uk: “People have
different punching motions and lengths so we had to make a machine
learning algorithm that adapts the formula based on the user.”
From a business perspective, Cains says that raising investment
for hardware products is “still difficult in the UK”. “Investors
want revenue which is unlikely given that the investment is used to
get a product from design to a product ready to manufacture,” he
explained. The company was born out of the Springboard Internet of
Things accelerator and attracted some angel investment through the
programme, but is now raising funds on Indiegogo.
Looking forward, the company is looking to license the gloves to
gym partners through the development of a fitness class that uses
the technology. “We are also partnering with boxing/MMA promoters
to add this to televised professional fights to give viewers a new
insight into the sport, help the ringside doctor know when to
intervene and to create new gambling opportunities.”
Wired.co.uk suggested developing a game where you can imagine
you are punching an unpopular politician. “I suppose we could use
an image that gradually gets beaten up,” he replied. “Careful it’s
not John Prescott though or you’ll get a punch coming back at
You can support
iPunch on Indiegogo here