Can an AI running coach really get you off the couch? Somehow, yes

We all know the importance of regular exercise, but that doesn’t make incorporating the chore into our weekly routine any easier. Aside from fatigue, it’s often difficult to stay motivated during a workout. Thankfully, the LifeBeam Vi is an AI running coach that’s designed to encourage individuals as they work toward their fitness goals.

Vi is an AI whose sole job is to make you a more proficient runner. It won’t open the Notes app or help you with productivity at work. It is a specialized personalized trainer — that’s it. On top of the AI component, Vi is a voice-activated Bluetooth headset, one complete with Harman Kardon speakers.

The AI features a built-in barometer to gauge elevation, along with a heart rate sensor, gyroscope, and an accelerometer, which will track your steps and a variety of other fitness metrics. Vi can also respond to basic questions you pose during your run. You can ask her about your heart rate in real time, whether you’re currently exercising within your optimal range, and a host of other questions. Simply say “step to the beat” and Vi will play a consistent beat, allowing you to develop a steady cadence for an even pace.

Prior to your workout, Vi will access weather data to determine whether you should run inside or outside on a particular day. The virtual assistant also learns from your previous workouts and health data, allowing her to adjust your regimen and coach you along the way. You can even set personal targets for weight loss, distance, and other metrics within the device’s accompanying mobile app. Then, afterward, you can establish one of these goal as your primary goal, and the AI will make this the focus of your workout. We’ve also compiled a list of our best fitness apps for the iPhone and the best fitness apps for Android, if you’re looking for something to use in tandem with the basic Vi features.

Moreover, there are plenty of other useful functions, each of which allows for a more personalized experience. After a few workouts, for instance, Vi will “sense” when you would normally be slowing down. The AI will then offer words of encouragement around that time, letting you know when you are nearing a new personal best. You can also easily link Vi to your Spotify account and play music stored on your phone, so you can sweat to your preferred playlist. The paired app displays plenty of useful metrics, too, such as pace, heart rate, speed, and elevation. This visual data makes it easy to see your progress over time.

Vi is a solid personal trainer, the speakers sound great, and you get both for about the same price as a decent Bluetooth headset. The AI can’t make you get off the couch and go for a run, but it certainly will push you toward your goals, if you allow it to. And if you’re looking for a quality alternative, be sure to check out our picks for the best headphones for runners.

David Cogen, a regular contributor here at Digital Trends, runs, a popular tech blog that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest tech. You can also find him over at Twitter discussing the latest tech trends.


These wireless earbuds use an A.I. to get you moving faster

The new Soul Blade wireless earbuds provide the ability to track your heart rate during a workout while an A.I.-powered coach gives advice and info on how to improve form and efficiency while exercising.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.

Take to the virtual skies with these free flight simulators

You don't have to spend the entirety of your paycheck to become a virtual ace, at least when it comes to flight simulation. Our list of the best free flight simulators will let you unleash your inner Maverick.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

Puma’s self-lacing sports shoe gives Nike’s Adapt BB a run for its money

Puma has unveiled a self-lacing shoe to take on Nike's Adapt BB. The fit can be adjusted via a smartphone app or the Apple Watch, with additional changes possible via a small touchpad on the top of the shoe.

Shark attack: Drone-based research may help ease swimmers’ fears

Researchers in Australia have used drones to try to learn more about what kinds of sea creatures come close the shore, and their findings may go some way to easing the fears of swimmers worried about shark attacks.

Alphabet’s Verily is reportedly working on shoes that can track your weight

Fitness tracking is getting increasingly important, but while the likes of Apple are working on fitness-tracking watches, Alphabet's Verily is turning to shoes. According to a report, Verily is working on shoes that can track your weight.

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…

Strava joins Slopes to record your ski and snowboard stats

Skiers and snowboarders can now share their activity on the hill within their Strava profile thanks to a new collaboration with the fitness-tracking app and Slopes, an app designed for use on the hill.

REI slashes prices on The North Face, Columbia, and Nike clearance Items

It's never too early to plan your next adventure and REI is your one-stop shop to get you prepared. Now until February 18, REI is offering up to 50 percent off on camp gear, outerwear, winter boots, and lifestyle footwear. Find discounts…

REI drops prices on Suunto, Fitbit, and Garmin Fenix smartwatches

Looking for some great deals on outdoor and fitness watches? Garmin, Fitbit, and Suunto smartwatches have all been discounted for a limited time during the REI Winter Clearance Sale.
Emerging Tech

Tokyo 2020 is on track to create Olympic medals with recycled electronics

The committee behind the Tokyo 2020 Olympics revealed that it is on target to be able to forge all winning athletes’ gold, silver and bronze medals from recycled electronic waste.

Skullcandy turns to action sports with the Vert Bluetooth earbuds

The new Skullcandy Vert Bluetooth earbuds are designed with action sports athletes in mind, putting audio controls on a convenient dial that provides glove-friendly options to pause and play music, and adjust volume.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Hi-viz bike reflectors and a tiny flashlight

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!