Yamaha BodiBeat Plays Music at Your Pace


The Yamaha BodiBeat MP3 player won't be out until late this year, but it's got a certain something. (And I don't just say that because of the running girl and bouncy music on their Flash site.) The BodiBeat analyzes your music collection, then syncs up songs that match your running tempo using a built-in accelerometer. It's also got a heart rate monitor that will clip on the ear if you're doing something low-impact.

It's a solid idea, but the implementation will make the difference. Yamaha talks about changing tracks mid-song if your pace changes, which could get irritating pretty quick if not handled with some intelligence.

Product Page [Yamaha.com via Oh Gizmo via Red Ferret]

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  1. Sounds a lot like the PersonalSoundtrack project Greg Elliott has been working on for years. His system seems smarter though, as it can time-stretch tracks to match your footfalls precisely. Oh, and it’s open source which I doubt the firmware for this product is going to be ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Since this is supposed to be a sports mp3 player, it bugs me that they used that style of headphone – they don’t stay in your ears when you run. (or maybe its just me thats cursed with greasy lugholes)

    I use ‘earhook’ style phones for running, if I’m listening to music at all; I like to hear the car thats trying to kill me.

  3. The solution to that is to not run in the freaking street…

    Personally, I’d prefer this to Elliot’s project, as A) it’s likely to be an actual product I can buy somewhere, and B) much of the music I listen to would not be stretch-friendly.

  4. Neat!

    Oooh, but if the picture is any indication, the earbuds are custom!? (Look at that connector!) I understand the cable routing issues of having both earbuds and an ear heart monitor clip, but that’s not a very good solution.

    They should have used the standard wireless chest-strap heart rate sensor. It might be more involved to put on, but I believe it would be less intrusive and stay in place better. Who wants to exercise with a thing clipped to your ear?

  5. I saw in the product-site-linked Bodibeat BF-1 Owner’s Manual:

    …neat, the thing does song transitions. There is an optional ‘connective phrase’ during the fade out/ins.

    Social implication: This sounds automatic-DJ-like, some club spinner is sure to call herself DJBF-1 within a few months, whether or not her act is driven by an accompanying live BodiBeat-connected venue-appropriate-gendered Go-Go dancer / Go-go treadmiller.

    A wish for use of actual device: My guess is the “transitions” are some beat-appropriate drum-fills and the like. But these provide no extra information. Would be great if this transition could be optionally set to be “Next up – Track Title by Track Artist!”. No worries for the li’l on-board processor, the high-quality per-song song-metadata-text-to-speech processing would have already been done at sync time on the iTunes-a-like PC/Mac/Linux box software that loaded in the BodiBeat songs. Each song would then have a companion 3-second song, containg title and track spoken audio. Only device overhead would be playing back propoer samples at proper time. Unless Apple patented this 8 years ago, won’t license, and isn’t using the feature on Nike+iPod for the same inscrutable reasons they don’t offer the dead-obvious (and amply Bodibeat provided) feature “alert when above/below target pace”.

    Here’s the quote on transitions from BF-1 manual…
    รขโ€“ย  Song Transition
    Song playback on the BF-1 is basically continuous. One song follows
    another virtually without pause in order that your exercise continues
    undisturbed. The Song Transition function lets you determine how the BF-1
    connects consecutive songs with a special connective phrase.
    The Song Transition setting is in effect just before the audio song is played. (Before a BODiBEAT
    song is played, no connective phrase is added.)
    From the Workout Music menu, select the Song Transition
    Available settings:
    Transition 1
    A connective phrase is added between successive songs, to smoothly sequence
    between them.
    Transition 2
    A connective phrase is added between successive songs, with the previous song
    fading out (only when the previous song is an audio song), followed by the connective
    phrase and then playback of the next song.

  6. Wow, if this works with cycling as well, this would be one of those rare products I’ve been wanting so long (pretty exactly 10 years in this case) that I’d already forgotten I’ve been wanting it.

  7. as davearter pointed out, i wrote synchstep (http://synchstep.com) and it does exactly this. oh, and it’s free and runs on your iphone or ipod touch and works with your entire music library. so this is something you can actually use.

    it’s a project i made back in 2005 that i ported to the iphone/ipod
    last february.


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