NEWTOWN, PA — While stuck at home during the pandemic, some have taken up crafts, others have helped their neighbors and some have simply worked to fight the boredom. But through the efforts of one duo in Newtown, a startup business was born.
The startup hinges on artificially intelligent technology that tracks an athlete’s movements during exercise and provides real-time feedback on form. And while it’s called SimpL, creating it was anything but.
CEO Kunal Gandhi said the idea for SimpL came about when he and his cousin, Nik Gandhi, returned from a trip to Columbia and were almost immediately made to shelter in place.
“So in Nik’s attic, we essentially started a company with one other person,” the CEO said.
One of the largest obstacles the team had to overcome, Kunal said, was effectively learning to code the app from scratch.
Kunal Gandhi said he and his cousin were inspired to tackle the topic of workout safety and wellness after watching members of their own family struggle with health issues. Both of the entrepreneurs’ grandfathers had strokes when they were younger.
“[Mine] was was paralyzed and in a wheelchair,” Kunal said. “And right as he we moved him into a nursing home, my mother had had a stroke, similarly at a young age. It’s crazy to see how two people who are relatively healthy, who didn’t work out as much as they should have but worked out, were able to have such dramatic diseases. For me it was like, ‘how can we prevent people from getting hurt?'”
While the app does not provide health counseling, Kunal said it uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to analyze “the angles between someone’s joints and figure out what exercises they need to prevent muscular imbalances and also prevent injury.”
The SimpL team, its CEO said, aims to have a twofold impact: first for individuals striving to exercise and live healthfully and, second, for high school, college and professional athletes looking to improve their skills while avoiding injury.
“Our goal at SimpL is to provide people a way to check their own form without the need of a trainer being there,” Kunal said. “We want to empower people who can’t afford personal trainers and help schools who want an extra set of eyes on their younger athletes. We aim to democratize personal training by making it less expensive and data driven.”
SimpL’s iPhone app is now available for download, and a waitlist is available for users hoping to try out the app on Android phones.
“Our dream is to basically have smart technology and data-driven fitness for the for the vast majority of people and make it accessible to all people,” Kunal said. He estimates the app can help athletes save between $60 and $100 an hour — the cost of an average trainer.
Nik said when working on the app and it’s many marketing materials, his inspiration was his own experiences with fitness and athletics.
“Okay, how would I use this? How would I use this app if I were in the gym by myself and my trainer wasn’t there?” he asked himself. “Or if I was going to a new gym where I didn’t know exactly like, what what exercises I could do.”
According to SimpL’s website, the app’s goal is to “provide people a way to check their own form without the need of a trainer being there.”
Those interested in learning more can head over to the startup’s website to download the app or even take a sneak peek at its technology through a demo feature.