It’s no secret that the Peloton boom is in full effect, with connected fitness equipment ranging from smart bikes to treadmills, rowing machines, boxing bags, and weight training stations. While they all feature some kind of streamable fitness class that you can watch from the device as you work out, one thing they’re all missing is the ability to tell you if you’re doing the exercise properly.
Tempo is pitching something different. Yes, it’s yet another connected fitness machine that has classes you can stream live or on-demand, but it comes with Microsoft’s Azure Kinect built in to track your form in real time during each exercise. The armoire-shaped machine has a 42-inch HD touchscreen display that streams videos in 4K and offers classes ranging from HIIT, strength training, cardio, and yoga. It also has storage racks behind and below the screen to hold barbells, weighted plates, a foam roller, a wrist-worn heart rate monitor, and a yoga mat that all come as part of the starter kit.
While Tempo does have a camera and microphone built into the machine, the company says these features aren’t activated out of the box. It uses solely the Azure Kinect camera to watch the user’s form and employs dots to plot the user’s movements, locating their muscles and joints to ensure each lift, squat, and slide is done properly.
In my brief demo with Tempo, it automatically told me to sit back a bit more during a squat so my knees didn’t go over my toes. Once I corrected this form, the on-screen prompt also told me I was now doing it right and moved on with the exercise. At the end of the exercise session, you can go over a summary of the exercises you did and whether they required any feedback to correct your form for next time. If you never corrected your form during the exercise, you can also click on the feedback to watch a tutorial video of what you’re actually supposed to be doing.
As you can see in the GIF below, Tempo located my bones and joints and tracked each movement in real time (including the moment I purposely tried to trigger the AI by leaning back too far on a bicep curl). It also anonymizes my face and what I was wearing by using solely dotted plots.
One thing I appreciated with Tempo is that the classes are done in tandem with the coaches themselves. This was something I found less personable and repetitive with Tonal, a weight training system that uses prerecorded exercise videos to loop users through their sets. Tempo also focuses on doing the exercise correctly versus doing a specified amount of reps, though the machine does suggest weights and how many reps you should aim for based on your initial strength test, it’s more about how many you do right within the 30- to 60-second allotted time period per exercise. The computer vision also helps to count those reps and shows on-screen how many you’ve done.
As with most other smart fitness equipment, Tempo does come with a monthly content subscription fee of $39 on top of the equipment price of $1,995 plus tax and shipping / installation. At this time, Tempo only offers one live class daily, but it promises to regularly update the library with new programs and one-off sessions. You can also use the app to browse the schedule and save any class or programs you want to do and add them automatically to your calendar.
Tempo’s starter pack comes with a standard set of weights that add up to 100 pounds when attached to the 25-pound barbell, but Tempo says users can use their own plates if they want something heavier since the barbell is standard sized and isn’t proprietary. Similarly, users can also use their own dumbbells for exercises if they elect not to use the included set.
Tempo launches today and can be reserved with a $250 deposit. It will ship this summer first in the Bay Area and globally in the following few months.