Unlimitech’s mask is up and running for sportspeople
Cambridge start-up Unlimitech has developed a breakthrough technology which helps sportspeople optimise their performance through high-precision fitness tracking.
The struggle – so familiar to exercise fanatics – to improve fitness and nutrition is given a boost by the company’s Smartmask.
The Smartmask is a wearable facemask which analyses a person’s breath during training and provides high-precision performance information – typically only available to professional sportspeople – through a mobile phone. The company, which is supported by the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Entrepreneurship Centre, successfully trialled a prototype indoors in 2019. Daniel is currently concluding an initial fundraising round and plans to deliver the first masks to market later this year.
“We’re looking to close the actual funding round as soon as possible and that will allow us to put the first masks on the market,” says Daniel Morales Valdivia, founder and CEO. “Specifically, we’re looking to start this process by working closely with one or two sports clubs.”
Through its invention, Unlimitech hopes to democratise access to top personal sports performance information.
“Enthusiast sportspeople are stuck in a large gap between basic fitness tracking technologies, such as smartwatches and heart-rate bands, and high-quality but expensive solutions, like testing at sports laboratories,” Daniel says. “Our Smartmask bridges that gap and levels the playing field.
“Future versions of the mask could also offer the option of protection against air pollution. Regarding its potential use against diseases like Covid-19, Daniel – whose company has grown to five team members, said the team “paused to think about the current situation, to carefully consider what the most meaningful contribution we, as a small company, could also make.”
And there are ways to help with the pandemic - though the mask is not suitable for use as a medical mask.
“Our Smartmask could help researchers better understand the nature of respiratory diseases. The biomarkers that the Smartmask is able to measure conveniently, such as oxygen consumption, CO2 production or respiratory frequency, are all closely linked to the respiratory system, and they could help better inform research on diseases like Covid-19.”
Unlimitech’s team - which includes British and Irish cyclist and writer Michael Hutchinson as product advisor - has also made itself available through their online blog to answer any questions on how to stay in top condition without leaving home.
“We also want to help sportspeople stay at their best game while staying inside,” Daniel said, “and our team is capable of providing excellent advice.”
Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, the mask is due to be launched next year: the pricing strategy is twofold.
“There will be two ways to access a Smartmask,” Daniel comments. “There will be an option for a one-time payment with a price point of around £500, and an option for a monthly subscription aimed at groups such as sports clubs or teams, where the cost would adapt to fit their exact requirements.”
However, the company could launch a Kickstarter campaign before next year.
“For those who can’t wait until next year, we’re also considering a pre-order event. We look forward to releasing more on this soon.”