Your Next (Unexpected) Fitness Coach: IBM’s Supercomputer

Your Next (Unexpected) Fitness Coach: IBM’s Supercomputer

It’s no secret we love the marriage of technology and fitness—what with the multitude of trackers, wearables, and apps on the market. But there are a couple of companies taking it all a step further: Under Armour and IBM. 

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, in a speech at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, said the company is teaming up with Under Armour to release a version of its UA Record fitness app for Apple iPhones, Re/code reports

Reinforcing the app is IBM’s supercomputer Watson. The computer will serve as coach, nutrition consultant, and sleep analyst for amateur and professional athletes alike. (Remember, this computer, that processes information like a human, beat two Jeopardy! champions on the popular TV game show five years ago.)

“The UA Record app will share health and fitness insights comparable to others similar to you, including average weight, average resting heart rate and average steps taken per day,” according to an IBM press release. “Additional insights could show how long an average workout is or how long someone like you is sleeping, down to the minute,” and include daily activity, sleep, and food intake. You’ll be able to access all this through the feature “Just Like Me,” and as the press release mentioned, compare and contrast your results and figures with millions of other men and women in the Under Armour and IBM communities (IBM alone has 160 million people using its health products, according to Re-code). 

IBM’s press release also says Under Armour will add new capabilities over the next year that will allow the Cognitive Coaching System (powered by Watson) to transform athlete engagement and motivation in the following areas: 

Behavioral and Performance Management: Using existing Under Armour mobile apps and fitness-tracking devices, and Watson’s ability to tap into users’ behavioral and performance trends, customized programs will be made available.

Food Intake Tracking and Overall Nutrition Management: Watson Visual Recognition and Watson Discovery technology will make the irritating task of food logging obsolete; it’ll be replaced by visual recognition of food images for faster and easier food identification.

How Weather and Environmental Factors Effect Training: Watson’s weather domain knowledge and its News Service API (which integrates daily news sources) can modify fitness program recommendations based on these outside factors.

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