HomeRun is a treadmill that uses AI to design runs just for you.
HomeRun's intelligent software taps into your available HealthKit (or Google Fit) data, creating a custom run that's not too easy and not too hard. The number of steps you took today, stairs you climbed, height, weight, wakeup time, and all other available metrics are analyzed to create a specialize run program that no trainer can compete with.
The HomeRun app is used to plan runs and control the treadmill. It also organizes your progress and teaches safe running form.
Integrated motion-capture cameras and pressure sensors give this treadmill the ability to monitor your safety and provide valuable stride feedback, turning anyone into a running superstar.
For more experienced runners, the treadmill's physical arms can be removed, enabling strong haptic feedback and alerts if you drift too far to one side (like highway rumble strips).
Gesture controls allow the treadmill to be button-free, providing the most natural running experience. To stop the treadmill at anytime, simply hold your arms up.
The treadmill requires a few seconds calibration before every run. This ensures that the motion sensors are clear of dust and are ready to be used. It also functions as the largest scale you’ve ever used. It will automatically track your weight over time and send it back to HealthKit.
Unlike existing treadmills, this one is beautifully designed and highly customizable - allowing it to blend perfectly into any home environment. With no command center or bulky screen attached to the handrails, it’s the only treadmill that’s easily adjusted to fit any height.
HomeRun was designed to contain the most approachable and universal aesthetics. Curved edges are highly important to the design, giving it a soft presence in the home, but a captivating overall silhouette.
Lengthy interviews, ethnographic research, and controlled test scenarios were conducted to create the most enjoyable exercise experience. It was quickly confirmed that many people don’t run because they don’t like running. This may seem obvious, but it cemented our new goal: create a product that makes people enjoy running.
To make people enjoy running, running has to be easy………at first. The first few runs that a new user goes on should be more about exposing the runner to the activity and create a new habit. Devoting time to exercise is hard enough, so the first few runs should be very easy.
Creating a perfect run however, is very difficult. There are simply too many factors that contribute to the energy levels and endurance of each person for a trainer to interpret it perfectly. An algorithm is required to create this run.
HomeRun’s algorithm is designed to pick your next run the same way that Spotify picks your next favorite song. It picks your run the same way that marketers picked which ads to show you. It picks your next run the same way that youtube knows which video you would like to watch. Algorithms like this have existed for a while, but finally, their power is being used for the health benefits of the user.
Running is actually quite similar to learning a new language. Both are common “New Year's resolutions,” both require persistence, and both are very easy to give up and never return to. Despite these challenges, the popular language learning application, “Duolingo” was able to use gamification techniques to acquire 300 million users and provide a highly enjoyable experience.
The HomeRun app uses similar gamification techniques to slowly build up and reward users over time.
Before initial testing and visualizations of HomeRun, the market was heavily researched to develop a holistic understanding of treadmills and their history. It immediately became apparent that the incumbents of the treadmill industry are outdated - not taking advantage of current technology to provide runners with the best experience. The chart below shows 26 of 200 treadmills that were researched. Most treadmills are powered by motors of a similar strength, and have roughly the same dimensions. These differ from one another when it comes to price - while there is certainly a slight price fluctuation based on hardware changes to the running surface, many of the treadmills raise in price based on the entertainment centers they’re equipped with. Most notably, the Landice L7 - Pro Trainer, and Landice L7 Executive have a $1500 price difference despite being made of the same materials. The sharp spike in price is due to a larger screen and more “run programs.
The only company that is making a truly progressive treadmill is Peloton. Originally a stationary exercise bike manufacture, Peloton moved into the treadmill market in 2019. Their treadmill features a 32” 4k screen, hi-fidelity sound, and livestreams classes directly from their NYC studios. They have been frequently called “The Netflix of fitness,” offering hundreds of videos from the world’s best instructors. Their treadmills offer premium hardware, and their product comes at a premium price: the treadmill is $4000 and live classes are $40 a month.
While this is certainly the best treadmill that exists today, it’s not the best treadmill that could exist. Its features are impressive, but it appears they are too quick to assume what runners actually need. Instead of using new technology as an opportunity to simplify running, it has complicated the experience. Some potential problems with the Peloton treadmill are listed below:
The treadmill’s arms are fixed in position. They can not be adjusted to comfortably fit people of different heights.
The Screen is at a fixed height, forcing you to bend your head down if you’re too tall, or bending up if you’re too short.
The screen is so large that the runner can’t see over or around it. The immersive screen becomes the focus of the experience, not the run itself.
55% of Runners prefer to run alone, yet the run programs all feature a person running in front of you, telling you what to do.
There are many classes to choose, which may not be a good thing. More choices can lead to decision paralysis and FOMO.
The aesthetics of the treadmill are subject to debate. While the treadmill is visually cohesive and uses materials in an innovative way, it still feels like gym equipment. Its stylized form will not fit into any interior.
The treadmill is difficult to move. It weights 455lbs and has no wheels to assist in mobility,
It’s very expensive. At $4000, it excludes many people who would like to run on a nice machine.
The instructors are great, but they don’t know you personally. They are unable to give you up-to-second feedback on how to improve your run.
Peleton’s marketing materials depict only the fittest people using their products. This is exclusive and could make many people think the product is not for them.
HomeRun and Inclusivity
Currently, there are no good solutions for blind or visually impaired runners. Treadmills and gym floors are almost entirely black, making it difficult to see where the treadmill stops and floor begins. The control panel of standard treadmills is complicated and the buttons are small, making it hard to use for the slightly visual impaired. For totally blind individuals, the task is impossible. HomeRun has the ability to change that with its footstep monitoring, gesture controls, and automatically programmed runs.
HomeRun has the ability to strongly impact the lives of the elderly. Sidewalks are often crooked, uneven and dangerous for people with weak joints and muscles. This treadmill provides a smooth running surface and can send running routines to the user which are guaranteed to be safe. If an injury or fall is identified, authorities and loved ones can be notified immediately.
There is no treadmill that’s easy to use for little people. Treadmill control centers are often high off the ground and were designed only for people of average height to use. It is difficult to find a treadmill where the control panel slides down to meet the needs of every user (I haven’t found one yet). Homerun changes that by removing the control center entirely and providing easily swappable and telescoping handrails that can condense to any height.
The HomeRun Treadmill was designed to be the most effortless and thoughtful treadmill on the market. It’s goal is clear: get as many people to go on the best run they possibly can, every day, with as little thinking as possible. Meditate while you run, think about your life, listen to a podcast, an audiobook. You no longer need to think about if your efforts will pay off, because the algorithm will ensure it. Face your treadmill out the window so you can see the outdoors. Don’t be concerned with being the fastest runner, you’ll get there eventually. Just get on your treadmill and go on the best run, that was made just for you.
While working on this project, many people have told me that it would be dangerous to run without handrails. I frequently disagreed, assuring them that humans are more athletic than they think. People can stand on a board in water and ride waves (surfing), they can hit baseball that's being thrown 100mph at them and hit it 300ft (if they miss by a millimeter the hit could be ruined.) If you explained the process of riding a bike to someone who hasn’t tried it before, they would probably find it to be an impossible task. When you really think of all the amazing things that people can do, running in a straight line doesn’t seem that hard. After adding a few safety sensors, the activity becomes even easier. I believe that the reason so many treadmills have handrails is not necessarily to keep the user safe, but to hold up the control panel (a part that I have decided to remove.) Regardless of this fact, HomeRun comes with a handrail that is adjustable to any height and spans the length of the entire treadmill making it easier to grab than any handrail on the market. It’s removable, and the decision is up to the user.
I also frequently found myself bringing up Tesla when talking about HomeRun with people. When I was told by a forward-thinking individual that they wouldn’t want an algorithm to control their workout, I would frequently say “that’s exactly what people are saying about driverless cars, but they’re coming anyway.” If you truly want to control your run, you’re saying you don’t trust the algorithm that’s making it. If the algorithm has enough data and is proven to make the best run for anyone who wants it, how can you assume you know what is best? You haven’t scanned every health journal. You aren’t watching where your feet are landing for the entire duration of your run. You haven’t watched 100,000 people run. You don’t know how much different your run should be if you walked up 10 flights of stairs today instead of 9.
I’d like to give a huge shout out to my friends who helped me execute my vision for this project. Without them, none of these visuals would have been possible.