[App Friday] The in-house health app Zyoga makes use of AI that will help you follow and ideal yoga postures

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It wouldn’t have been so easy to stay fit at home without the many fitness apps out there today. A consequence of the pandemic and the resulting bans has been a surge in fitness apps for the home – as many as 71,000 new fitness and health apps were launched in 2020, up 13 percent from 2019, according to a report from mobile data and analytics provider App Annie.

In this week’s app reviews section, we decided to pick a newly launched yoga app and see how it fares.

Zyoga, launched by Gurugram and Backmarker Sports from Bhopal, promises you a virtual teacher who not only shows you which pose to do and how, but also knows if you are doing something wrong. The AI-powered Zyoga offers curated and tailored fitness content powered by real-time motion tracking technology.

Backmarker Sports was launched last June by Vibhu Tripathi, Amitesh Mishra and Karamveer Singh Bakshi who have experience in sports analysis, influencer marketing, UX and deep tech. They wanted to meet the increasing demand for always accessible and reliable fitness solutions.

Zyoga went live in February this year. The app is currently available in the Google Play Store and is expected to go live in the Apple App Store shortly.

Started

Sign in with an email ID or with your Facebook or Google account. The email ID is usually required when users use the app as part of their employer’s corporate bond.

After signing in, the app asks you why you want to use the app. Options include getting better sleep, reducing stress, improving focus, reducing anxiety, losing fat, and so on. It then asks how often you do yoga; You can tap the frequency you want (daily, once a month, or you’ve never done yoga before). We knocked every day because that is the goal!

The app focuses on holistic wellbeing and also checks that you are meditating before you get started. In order to customize and personalize your yoga practice, you will also be asked whether you have medical problems or general discomfort and fatigue.

The app’s user interface is dark, so users can view postures in the dark without straining their eyes. It also gives the feeling that it appeals to a niche audience of fitness enthusiasts.

What we like about this app is that it isn’t just about video tutorials. It gives you the option to do a guided exercise without looking at the app. So one who knows how to do yoga can easily get started with this mode and still become a guided practice for effectiveness. Since we chose fear as the “reason”, the yoga sequence was given accordingly. Each posture was well explained in both text and audio.

The sequence is divided into poses so that a user can take breaks in between. We liked this as it also provided the ability to completely avoid a particular pose if necessary.

AI at work

Zyoga offers AI-controlled training. The app will open the audio-based session first, but to do that with a trainer you need to swipe up. The app manufacturers give options here. You can just watch the video and get started. But to keep your posture in check, tap “Start Do” in the upper right corner of the video tutorial and your screen will split into two parts. The app opens your front camera, you adjust to your camera and the app starts using its technology.

The app uses a smartphone’s front camera to track the user and their movements through its AI-powered motion tracking and pose estimation technology.

The founders tell YourStory that they incorporated a lightweight convolutional neural network for human pose estimation and tracking; this is highly optimized for real-time inference on mobile devices. The model generates approx. 20 different important body points uses the phone’s front camera and routes it to a second AI engine that predicts pose accuracy and provides feedback on pose correction.

When we tried the technology, it was about the app 80-90 percent accurate in identifying key body points and helping us find proper alignment. The only concern we had was about demanding postures where you couldn’t see the phone to correct your posture. However, it can be helpful to opt for an audio-only guide.

The app makers claim that Zyoga attaches the greatest importance to the privacy and security of its users and that none of its video frames are sent to the cloud. All processing takes place on the device itself.

How much do you pay

The app has corporate and single user plans. It is currently offering free courses, but it seems that the makers intend to monetize the plans. The app has a section called Payment that shows that some plans are coming soon.

The judgment

Zyoga is a good virtual fitness companion that offers users a personalized experience. Movement tracking and pose estimation make for an immersive fitness experience.

It has several other functions such as: In-app competitions and Target tracking to encourage users to meet their fitness goals and stay motivated. With the app, you can train at your own pace, time and comfort.

We found the courses to be short and wish there was some way to define how long you want your sessions to be. Overall, the app is still in its early stages and in the works, but we really liked it for making yoga effective at home. We hope for more formats in the future so that we can stay fit and relaxed!

Edited by Teja Lele Desai