November 22, 2013
So, true story: the other night, I met a guy at a friend of a friend’s dinner, and he shared with me his thoughts on what the “next big thing” was going to be in tech. Fully expecting a polemic against the patres familias of the House of Physics for knocking down the possibility of time travel technology – I don’t know, he just seemed like the kind of guy that would spew such geeky vituperation – I was met, instead, with earnest intrigue over body sensors. He shared with me his hopes that, in the next 10 or 20 years, we’ll take advantage of such sensors to fully actualize the spirit of the “quantified self”.
“The goal of our company is to connect users to the world around them – to [help them] understand and learn more about themselves and others. [Enflux] is aimed at producing data-driven devices…to supply new innovation that will invoke eureka moments to customers,” says Doug Hoang, founder and CEO of Enflux.
Enflux is a Chicago-based startup aimed at creating technologies that increase a person’s interaction with the world around them beyond the means of audio and video functions. When it comes to helping people truly quantify themselves, the company places huge value on producing data-driven technology, primarily in the form of sensors. 4Motion, one of the startup’s first offerings, is a fitness tool that utilizes sensors to provide users with a more comprehensive view of one’s health performance.
While body sensors aren’t exactly a new kind of technology, societal acceptance of this kind of tech monitoring of our actions or bodily functions is a nascent trend. I mean, it’s only recently that companies are really beginning to explore the wearable technology space (a subset of tech devices that relies predominantly on several different kinds of sensors). The very recent move by tech companies like Samsung and Apple into such devices, like smartwatches (as well as things like Google Glass and Glass-like technology), can really be attributed to the health industry’s adoption of wearable body sensors, such as the Nike+ shoes and corresponding Fuelband.
“With our sensors, 4Motion actually analyzes your performance and technique. [For example,] it will sensor the reps, how fast you’re moving, [and] how much power you’re generating.”
Unlike the competition’s (disputably) inferior sensors, Enflux’s 4Motion four sensors will detect a user’s 3D movement during exercise to provide comprehensive data and provide a more accurate insight into user performance. While Hoang admits that the current product is utilizing a single node sensor (as opposed to the intended multi-node sensor), the product is still in its prototype stage. After getting feedback from these single-node prototypes, then the Enflux will move forward to a multi-node sensor version of 4Motion that would incorporate several sensors that can be worn (think: shoes, wristbands, chest, etc.).
Clearly, Enflux is in the business of creating hardware; particularly, it’s in the business of creating 3D motion tracking sensors. This could work out for the company, in the long-run. While it’s riding high on this trend in body sensors, the company’s focus on hardware development comes at a time when venture capital is looking into hardware startups. If the company can manage to seamlessly incorporate a multi-sensor 4Motion into the everyday lives of human beings, then you can be sure to see a lot more success coming from Enflux in the following year.
Enflux was most recently featured at Tech Cocktail’s Chicago Mixer and Startup Showcase.
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