Ergatta Revolutionizes Rowing using Human-Centered Design
March 3, 2020 | Design Thinking
by ExperiencePoint

The new age of cardio machines is upon us. No longer is it enough to slog through a grueling workout, running to nowhere on a treadmill and staring at the wall. People need — and have been asking for — more interaction. Working out isn’t fun for most of us, but more interaction and distraction could make it a little bit more enjoyable.

In response to that customer need, a variety of treadmills and stationary bike companies began to innovate and to create a more engaging customer experience. They added ports for iPods, incorporated screens that displayed outdoor scenes and running tracks, and even added televisions.

But this year, interaction was kicked up a notch in the form of the infamous Peleton, an in-home workout bike with a screen and virtual personal trainer ready to guide you through a real time, virtual studio workout. In this way, the distraction and interaction is not only propelled by the customer getting onto the machine, but by the hope that they may uncover a brand new version of themselves.

This is a classic example of human-centered design — one in which evolving customer needs and perceptions are leveraged to drive innovation in the marketplace.

But the innovation doesn’t end there. The new age of workout machines is now expanding again in an unexpected area: the rower. Ergatta, a company that seeks to be the new leader in the home-rowing experience, wowed attendees at CES 2020 with their new rowing machine design.

Ergatta was founded by Tom Aulet and Alessandra Gotbaum, who, according to Engadget, were not avid rowers before developing the company. They were consumers themselves on the lookout for a safer workout than running could provide, and soon discovered that even people who love to row, absolutely loathe rowing machines.

Thus began a perfect human-centered design journey. They first got in touch with their own needs when thinking up indoor workout that was easier on the body than running on a treadmill, then widened their exploration to seasoned rowers who don’t like indoor rowing in order to identify a global unmet need in rowing that needed to be solved.

The result was the Ergatta.

In designing the Ergatta, Aulet and Gotbaum wanted it to look like a piece of furniture, not an eyesore — and it shows. According to Business Insider, the machine has a foldable and compact cherry wood frame, with a unique water flywheel that delivers smooth resistance to simulate rowing on water.

The 17.3 inch touchscreen at the front of the machine doesn’t offer live-streamed classes like a Peleton. It does something even better. It provides an array of game-based workouts that challenge users to ride longer and harder while having more fun.

Users can compete in community challenges, get real-time feedback, and customize their routines. Interval workouts, race workouts and open row variations are all possible with the machine. The gaming features even transform a once solitary workout into a group activity, with incentives for beating competitors.

Above all, Ergatta does what screen-based cardio machines do best — it distracts from the pain and monotony of a tough workout and promotes success by engaging the user in a fun and interactive experience.

In the new age of cardio machines, distraction is key. Ergatta is the newest entrant to the party with the goal of revolutionizing the rowing experience. With positive reviews and a standout at CES 2020, they may very well become a new household name in fitness equipment.


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