While rowing machines certainly provide a good workout, they do require users to keep their hands on the handle at all times – this makes it quite difficult to control a smartphone’s music playback function. The ergRemote, however, puts a Bluetooth remote on the handle.
Invented by rower Dan Reader, the ergRemote is temporarily attached to the handle utilizing an attached Velcro strap. This means that it can be utilized on the user’s own rowing machine, or on one in a gym or fitness club. It’s presently designed to work with Concept2’s Model D or E models – the D presently being the world’s best-selling rowing machine – although compatibility with other makes and models is in the works.
Utilizing the ergRemote’s thumb-operated button controls, users are able to skip forward or backward in their music library, pause and resume playback, and increase or decrease the volume. It’s compatible with iOS, Android and Windows phones.
In order to extend battery life, the device defaults to a “sleep” mode. It’s woken up when any of the buttons are pressed, taking about one second to reestablish contact with the paired phone and then send the command. If no other button-presses occur within the following 15 seconds, it goes back to sleep.
Should users not want to put up with the delay, pushing the device’s M button extends the 15-second window to 20 minutes, during which time the phone will respond to the ergRemote instantaneously. Doing so does drain the battery faster, though. On the subject of which, power is provided by a single replaceable CR2032 lithium coin battery, which should reportedly be good for up to a year of operation if the M button isn’t used much.
The ergRemote is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, where a pledge of US$55 will get you one – assuming it reaches production, that is. The planned retail price is $99.
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