August 25, 2014
The human body changes after a workout, and in the past there hasn’t been a way for people to see those changes in action, but soon there will be. Two young entrepreneurs are helping you reach a new level of fitness with their VFit scanner.
“We are using 3D scanning to accurately show how the body is changing over time after working out,” says Caroline Pugh, the COO of VirtualU, the company that has developed the first fitness scanner for fitness.
According to the site, VFit creates 3D models of users’ bodies to help track fitness goals and ensure that people are getting the most out of their workout. Here’s how it works:
- Step in the scanner: Scanners will be found at gyms.
- Create an account: The system will ask for age and fitness level.
- Get scanned: It’s easy and only takes 10 seconds.
- Go to myvfit.com: Here you’ll get all your biometric data and 3D models.
- Scan often: Users can scan themselves continuously to check their progress.
- Track data: See your body change over time with VFit.
The Virginia-based startup has started their beta testing locally in Blacksburg and will be expanding into the Washington, DC, and New York markets very soon.
The Future of VirtualU
The team pivoted last year, as VirutalU was originally designed for fashion.
“We wanted to utilize 3D scanning technology to essentially allow the end consumer to drag and drop any piece of clothing that they want to try on to their 3D model. You would tell them exactly what size they needed to get, and how it was going to look on them,” says Pugh, who also claims this market showed an opportunity because more than 40% of clothes bought online are returned.
While the team is only in the health and fitness space now, Pugh says they do want to gradually get back into the fashion market.
In general, she says the options for 3D scanning are limitless, including playing yourself in a video game or identifying various health risks.
“A couple of dermatologists have contacted us about detecting skin cancer because we are getting very, very [good] data on the human body,” says Pugh.
VirtualU also has an advantage because it’s much cheaper than the other options out on the market. Similar technology can cost anywhere between $50,000 and $250,000, but VirtualU has created a technology of their own.
“The software is so powerful we drove the cost down really, really low and that enabled us to make the hardware very user-friendly and hopefully give the consumers a very good experience,” says Pugh.
More about Pugh and the VirtualU team
Pugh and Louis Cirillo, the VirtualU CEO, have been working on this company since 2012. They met through the Entrepreneurship Club at Virginia Tech, where Pugh also served as the organization’s president during her sophomore year.
The company currently has 10 employees – mostly designers and engineers – along with CTO Nick Graber. VirtualU’s board of advisors includes executives, managing directors, and strategists from various companies such as MakerBot, Fitness Connection, Stone Circle Capital, and more. They’ve discussed their idea in-depth with their advisors and the feedback they have received is positive.
“He said 3D scanning technology will eventually be utilized on a mass scale, it’s just a matter of how and when that happens,” says Pugh of one of the company’s advisors. “It has to be a very seamless and easy integration.”
Pugh’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is simple: be persistent and don’t be afraid to share your idea. “At the end of the day if you really do want to be an entrepreneur and make change, you will find a way to differentiate yourself and make your product or whatever you are offering the best one,” says Pugh.
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