BrainBit, a maker of consumer-level EEG devices, is preparing to roll out a new wearable device this summer called Callibri that is tailored to the health and fitness community -- a more than $6 billion market that is expected to double by 2022. Proactive recently sat down with Sofiya Kleshchuck, BrainBit’s head of communications and partnerships, to get an early look at what Callibri is and how it will help fitness enthusiasts of all levels achieve the ultimate workout.
What is Callibri and what does it have in common with BrainBit’s current EEG headband?
Callibri is a wearable device connected by electrodes you can attach to any muscle that you want to train and monitor. It includes an angular velocity sensor to read physiological data like muscle movement tension, breathing, heart rate – all the things we use EEGs for. The BrainBit Headband is for EEG, monitoring brain activity data, and Callibri is for EMG and ECG, monitoring muscle activity and heart rate. What works the same way is the software algorithms that interpret the data after it's been transmitted from the device.
How does Callibri work?
You attach it with two disposable electrodes to any muscle that you want to monitor, and the signal is transmitted through Bluetooth to our mobile application, which converts that raw data into readable information. Basically, it works the same way as BrainBit. After the data is transmitted into the application, the software does the computing and you get info that can be understood by any consumer. We’re also about to launch a biofeedback application that shows muscle activity and lets you play games, for example, just by flexing.
How was Callibri developed?
Callibri was initially launched in late 2013 and we’ve had a huge team developing it and making sure the device works as intended. We’re working hard to make the device consumer-friendly -- without requiring assistance from a doctor or medical professional. We created one prototype before the current version, which now has two variations: you can either use it for reading muscle and heart activity, or use the sensor for electromyostimulation for muscle recovery.
Who’s Callibri’s intended audience?
We ultimately would like to reach a wide audience of people who exercise or go to the gym every day. Right now, our primary audience is fitness geeks and professional athletes. So, let's say you bench press and want to make sure both pectoral muscles work equally. You attach the Callibri sensors and you can see if they work equally or if one muscle works harder than the other. You can use just one sensor individually to target one muscle or attach several sensors to work together and monitor multiple muscles at same time.
We’re basically all about providing consumers with a healthy experience. We think it's important that people know what their optimal workout level is. Callibri helps them see their muscles at work so they won't get overstrained or over-trained.
What are some of its other applications?
Fitness-tracking is the main way to use it, but it can also be used for HRV, heart-rate variability, by attaching a sensor to the rib cage, right next to the heart. That gives the most accurate cardio data for consumer use. If there are any changes in heart rate, you’ll be notified immediately -- and that works way better than any fitness tracker because most of those are worn on the wrist.
Another way to use Callibri is to integrate with smart gym machines that automatically adapt to your muscle state and tonus. The sensor itself can also be used for gym apps that count your reps for you.
You can play games, too. Let's say you create a character that runs, so the harder you flex a muscle, the faster that character goes. Or you can organize competitions at the gym with other people, seeing who can flex their abs harder, for example.
When is the expected roll-out and how much will Callibri cost?
The hardware is ready now, and we expect the biofeedback application to be released by early summer. The price for a single sensor will be about $100. Users can connect up to eight sensors at once, but if they want to monitor a single muscle, one sensor is enough.
--This interview has been lightly edited and updated to clarify how BrainBit and Callibri share an algorithm--
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