Startup BitGym aims to inspire geeks to work out with iPads, iPhones

– Alastair Goldfisher is a contributor for PE Hub and acting Editor-in-Charge at Venture Capital Journal, both Thomson Reuters publications. This article originally appeared here. Any views expressed are his own. –

With more and more VC-backed personal health and fitness companies targeting the hardcore exercise fanatic, it was only a matter of time before a startup emerged to go after the less enthusiastic cardio burner.

Witness BitGym, a startup being launched out of the Rock Health accelerator in San Francisco that says it has raised “some” seed funding.

The aim of the company’s technology is to make exercise seem more like a video game rather than a workout. “Running sucks now. That’s where we come in,” the company says on its website.

Users put their iPhone or iPad on the rack of any treadmill, elliptical machine or stationary bike and the BitGym app syncs with the machine to portray, for instance, a car driving on a race track. With a forward-facing camera, the BitGym app could track the eye so that the user can steer the game with head movements.

Mobile app helps diagnose Parkinson’s

Can smartphones help diagnose disease? Yes, according to Konrad Körding, one of the developers of an Android app being used to track the movement of Parkinson’s patients.

The app uses the phone’s sensory capabilities to evaluate a user’s patterns of movement, such as if walking is unstable or if a fall occurs.

“Most patients already carry a phone with them,” said Körding, a researcher who holds academic posts at both Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. “It’s known that you can detect disease based on movement.”