Did some say that sitting is the new smoking—sedentary behaviour leading to lifestyle illnesses like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases? Someone had rightly said “sitting is killing you”. Recent studies suggest that having a high level of sedentary behaviour negatively impacts health, independent of other factors including body weight, diet and physical activity.
Meet Cubii, the world’s first under-desk elliptical/cross trainer specifically designed for exercise at the workplace. It comes with a mobile app (that integrates seamlessly with existing fitness trackers), which allows one to wirelessly keep track of his/her exercise via Bluetooth on the phone. Cubii facilitates simple and unconscious leg motions preventing any distraction from regular work.
An innovation by the US-based startup Fitness Cubed, it is the brainchild of Arnav Dalmia, Ryota Sekine and Shivani Jain. Dalmia says, “In the summer of 2012, I took up an internship with Sears Holdings Corporation. My job involved sitting at the desk for long hours. I noticed that while my diet hadn’t changed much, I had now started to feel lethargic, inactive and unhealthy; and I wasn’t the only one. Each day, I heard people around me complaining about back and muscle aches.” This got him doing some more research on office fitness and the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle. By the end of 2012, fitness trackers started becoming available and Dalmia decided to focus on building a device that could complement existing fitness trackers.
Cubii has been built to be compact, inexpensive, and ergonomic, while at the same time maintaining a sleek, modern and stylish exterior. Cubii allows users to get the basic amount of exercise as prescribed by the Surgeon General of the United States. By doing so, it will significantly reduce a number of health-related problems, and considerably reduce healthcare-related expenditures for employers and insurance companies.
• Beta Test and product validation: Based on the idea and research on their early adopters, they modified some existing elliptical trainers in the market to bring them as close as possible to the desired product—Cubii. They tested these with around 40 people to validate the need as well as its acceptability.
• Finalising designs: Once the idea for Cubii was validated through an initial test, they worked with a product designer and a physiotherapist to determine the form and designs. After a number of reiterations, they finally nailed a design that was consistent with their vision—sleek, modern, compact and highly attractive.
• Prototypes: Using the designs, they created some full-scale visual models as well as a critical functional model to see if they could successfully convert computer designs to something physical and real.
• Manufacturing: Once they were confident of the designs and prototypes, they started a massive hunt to find a manufacturer with the right capabilities to make Cubii in volume. After finding it, they had another review of the designs to ensure they are suitable for mass production.