Reno, Nev. — Tao-Wellness has turned to Kickstarter to launch its first product, the Tao WellShell, a handheld isometric exercise device.
The start-up, which showed a prototype of the WellShell at CES Unveiled at International CES in January, kicked off a month-long $100,000 fundraising campaign that runs through April 17.
The WellShell and accompanying Tao app guide users through a program of exercises the company called “variobics,” based on the same isometric principles as pilates, yoga and planking. The app explains more than 50 different resistance exercises that users can do by holding the WellShell in their hand, against their thigh, between their knees, etc. The app audibly coaches the user to press harder or ease up slightly, how to hold and for how long, and when to rest or when to start the next rep. It shows a path for the user to follow, measures the force applied and records progress.
Tao said the exercises allow a user to convert wasted time into healthy activity. “Our vision is to provide every individual with a simple, effective, motivating and time-saving way to enhance fitness and wellness so there is no excuse not to exercise,” explained Dr. Kosta Yanev, co-founder of Tao-Wellness.
The Tao app is available for Android and iOS devices. It coaches users through the variobic exercises; allows exercisers to adjust the intensity and duration of the workout; and measures heart rate, sleep and pedometer info from the WellShell's sensors.
A gaming element adds variety, so, for instance, a user can control a downhill skier and compete with friends. The WellShell can also used to control popular mobile games such as JetPack JoyRide, without the use of buttons but rather with tilt, tap and press gesture navigation.
If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, shipments should begin in late fall, the company said. The Tao system is expected to retail for about $300. Tao is offering early backers a chance to get one for as little as $99.
Tao-Wellness president Philo Northrup appeared on a digital fitness panel discussion at CES to explain the company’s goals for the Tao WellShell. It can be seen here.