Hey Reddit, glad to be on here! We'll try and stick around for the entire day to answer everyone's questions! πŸ™‚

Our short bio:

We are two co-founders, Alex and Martin.

  • We have several years of experience in engineering, product development and distribution.
  • Both of us are serial entrepreneurs and we have worked for several years in product development and manufacturing in Hong Kong and China's Pearl River Delta where most consumer electronics of the world are being made these days.
  • In early 2015 we started to work on coming up with a better fitness tracking concept that would actually tells you what has changed over time. Where exactly you'd lose fat and gain muscle. The concept of ShapeScale was born.
  • A little over two years ago we were invited to come to the Silicon Valley by the famous technology accelerator, Y Combinator. We didn't hesitate twice and quit our day jobs to make ShapeScale really happen.
  • Since then we have gone through several iterations and tests until this month during which we finally opened ShapeScale for pre-order. We also lost over 20 pounds of body fat in the process yet gained nearly 30 pounds in muscle. πŸ˜‰

ShapeScale, is the first-ever 3D scanning body scale that creates a completely photorealistic and 1:1 accurate 3D avatar of yourself. Our app then provides you with most comprehensive body composition data such as weight, height, localized body fat and volume as well as all your girth measures.

Our vision:

It's been a whacky idea in the beginning, and a lot of investors turned us down for being crazy. Yet, here we are to prove everyone wrong. We believe 10 years down the road, scales will have changed as we know it.

We will use scales not just for our health and fitness, but also to enable other applications around our body such as virtual fitting rooms to preview how clothes will look and fit on our own body.

Ask us anything!~ πŸ‘

Our Proof: https://twitter.com/shape_scale/status/867776881759850496

Edit: Forgot to add our website. It's ➑ https://shapescale.com β¬…

Edit 2: It's half-time for us. We are taking a small lunch break. But will be back soon to answer your questions.

Edit 3: Alright we are back! Still taking questions until 5pm Pacific Time today!

Edit 4: We are extending by another hour to 6PM. Thanks for all the questions folks. It's exciting to get such a HUGE response from everyone! http://imgur.com/a/mitbv

Edit 5: And that concludes our AMA! Thanks /r/IAmA, it's been a lot of fun! We enjoyed being here and joining the discussion with all of you!!

You can still engage with us on social media of course!

Instagram: https://instagram.com/shapescale/

Facebook: https://facebook.com/shapescale/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@shape_scale

Comments: 172 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

Gatenka22 karma

Could we see a before-and-after picture of you guys losing your 20 pounds of body fat and gaining 30 pounds of muscle?

You know, for posterity.

With that aside, onto the question. Will ShapeScale cater to disabled users as well (amputated limbs, birth defects, etc.)?

suntannedmonk5 karma

Agreed, a before/after personal success story would be cool to see.

thirru5 karma

We'll definitely have some of these in the works over the next few months. I do have a few scans of me at the various stages, been a little shy to put them up, but maybe it's sacrifice worth taking haha. Though, lately as /u/awayenberg mentioned we have been gaining quite a few pounds in body fat back due to all the stress and workload around the launch. I've got a marathon coming up in a week in San Diego and I'm already scared shit less! 😱😱

crusoe15 karma

Yeah, more subscription nonsense. I love it when DLC comes to physical goods...

Also, you guys build an apparently affordable large volume 3d scanner, then tie it to a scale? WTF?

Shit you idiots should be approaching hollywood, game studios, museums and other industries with this.

"We've invented a cheap large volume 3D scanner for $500"

"Let's stick it on a scale!"

Also, there is no proof of any of this working. No software, no sample scans ( webgl is a thing! ), nothing.

Looks like Juicero 2.0.

thirru6 karma

Was there a question here? We get it there are other use cases, but a lot of them are either niche or they wouldn't mind to pay a few hundred or in the case of Hollywood even thousand dollars more to get the best possible quality. It'd be a complete different approach. We wanted to be ShapeScale to become as affordable yet also useful as possible. On the consumer side we do hope we can enable other use cases beyond just fitness and health. But fitness works relatively easy on a small scale. You don't need to care about the fact that there are not a hundred million other users around when you get your body composition data, but an e-commerce store wanting to integrate a virtual fitting preview function would want to see some good user data first.

BTW here's a scan of me from last year: https://sketchfab.com/models/654082dc33db47b8bc03392ef64b4fc8 Let me see if I can upload a more recent one soon. Sample scans on the website is definitely a good idea, and it was something we tried but increased the loading heavily. But perhaps we could create a separate page for what it's worth! BTW, Hope we can prove you wrong on the Juicero 2.0 comment. πŸ˜‰

E99715 karma

what do you expect retail price to be?

how does the accuracy compare to say, a dexa scanner?

thirru17 karma

Retail price will be at $499 (it's now available at $299 for a few more weeks).

Now, for the measurements, we have done a lot of testing and while our measurements are more accurate than regular scales, they are not quite as accurate as DEXA/DXA scans which are able to measure your bone density via low intensity x-rays. However, we are pretty much as good as hydrostatic weighing which is pretty damn close in accuracy and measuring the relative change over time. That's really where most regular scales fall short. Also of course you'll be able to use ShapeScale daily which is something hard to accomplish with DEXA scans and hydrostatic weigh-ins.

Also, what is unique about ShapeScale is our ability to visualize areas of where exactly you have been losing fat and gaining muscle using depth sensing and software algorithms.

You'll also get all your girth measures and volumetric change, which is especially important if you are trying to lose weight in certain areas or gaining muscle in others.

In the future, we hope to do more cool things around photorealistic scans such as measuring your muscle definition using computer vision. However, that will require more data and time to accomplish.

Hope that makes sense! πŸ‘

Muthafuckaaaaa5 karma

The guy holding the tablet looks like he's giving the mannequin a reach around. How often does he play with the mannequin?

thirru3 karma

Haha, that would be /u/awayenberg ! The mannequin is actually our third co-founder, Paul. When we first started we needed to have someone standing still for the scan for hours. When Paul joined the company it was a huge relief for everyone. πŸ˜‰ ... and yes, /u/awayenberg plays a lot with him even to this date! Sometimes he even dresses him up in fancy wear.

Muthafuckaaaaa1 karma

haha nice! Good luck on your venture guys.

thirru3 karma

Thanks! If everything fails, Paul will be still with us! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

prelabsurvey5 karma

Hey guys, I understand the return policy for the device itself, but what is the return policy for the subscription? Personally I am very excited for this scale, but I do not want to be out of $200+ dollars if I get the lifetime subscription but don't end up enjoying the scale.

thirru7 karma

Hey that's a good question. You'd definitely get a refund on the full lifetime subscription if you return yours within the first 45 days after it arrives. Wouldn't want to leave you with that dent in your pocket. Now, if we see some abuse of people ordering a ShapeScale every 45 days then that's a different story of course.

dondadapicks2 karma

What if we wanted to change the type of service from lifetime -> monthly/annually? Is that possible?

thirru3 karma

Downgrading? Well, we haven't received this question before. The lifetime subscription is tied to your device once activated and it will be hard for us to facilitate a downgrade. The other way around will be much easier to do for us frankly.

viol8er4 karma

Do you ever feel guilty about the damage done to the environment in china and its people from its human rights violations and environmental degradation from waste dumping, all in the goal of making something as cheaply as possible?

thirru4 karma

Yes, certainly. Fun fact, one of my first roles in China was selling hundreds of thousands of bags (cotton, plastic, tote bags, etc) and it was a margin tight business that even now the Chinese got squeezed out of. I eventually got out of this business because I thought it was wrong to repeatedly sell some of these disposable plastic bags for less than a cent a piece. I'm glad in many places, including my home country Germany, plastic single-use shopping bags are now being banned.

As for ShapeScale, the material we use such as ABS plastic and aluminum can all be recycled and generally speaking we don't want ShapeScale to be that device that lands in a trash after you use it once, we want this to be the last scale you'll ever to buy.

As for violations, there are some real bad stories out there of the things that happen in China. A lot of it has to do with ruthless capitalism at all cost, which has taken its toll on its own people in terms of pollution, waste and also labor rights. I can tell you though that comparing now with the 90s a lot has changed over there, and you can actually see now people openly protesting these issues (as long they are not political).

I have been myself to dozens of factories over the years, and the worst ones are actually the factories to only manufacture for the domestic Chinese market which is a cut-throat business. Those that export are often held to high standards due to frequent inspections. Finding labor now in China has gotten pretty tough, to an extend, where employees there do not have to work crazy hours anymore. But yeah, I personally hope that automation will hopefully ease up some of these jobs which can be quite dull and repetitive and tiring for the human mind. I was once working the assembly line for a day, and it is really tiresome to do one thing over and over again for hours...

theflamingskull1 karma

I have been myself to dozens of factories over the years, and the worst ones are actually the factories to only manufacture for the domestic Chinese market which is a cut-throat business. Those that export are often held to high standards due to frequent inspections.

Have you not noticed the rampant counterfeiting of items of everything imaginable being exported from China?

thirru1 karma

Oh yes, though Chinese themselves have become pretty good at telling fakes and it's now recently become more of an export market as you mention. For a long time it used to be also pretty open with markets selling fake bags and watches openly in the public, that's become less and less the case now. The factories that make these kind of goods tend to be further inward in the country where labor is much cheaper. Much of toy and apparel industry has moved out of south China a long time ago. Now it's mostly furniture, appliances and of course consumer electronics. And, yes there's plenty of Shanzhai electronics, but most of them get exported to other developing countries. I have not come across a Shanzhai factory yet, but would be curious to see how they operate in all frankness.

RedBullRyan3 karma

How hype are you for season 5 of House of Cards, guy on left?

thirru5 karma

VERY! I've been counting the days. The cynic in me sometimes wishes he'd be for real.

heartbird3 karma

As someone who is interested in the idea of ShapeScale but generally experiences little change in body composition year after year, what knowledge would someone like me gain from owning one?

thirru5 karma

There's still plenty of things you can use a ShapeScale for.

For one, since you'll be able to visualize your body in photorealistic 3D (for example here is a scan of /u/awayenberg - http://shpe.us/alexscan), you will be able to see how your skin changes over time. This is particularly interesting for measuring aging over time [and also how your lifestyle affects your biological age], effects of skin products, and of course you also get to save historic 3D images of yourself, which you may use in VR and virtual fitting rooms.

You'll also be able to notice little things since you get a 360 view of yourself. Quite a few actually noticed their slouching posture after reviewing their scan.

Some also told us they'd like to 3D print themselves or keep track of how their children grow up. Nearly every week we get thrown new use cases at us, but we first need to focus on getting the fitness part right.

R3ckl3ss3 karma

Why didn't you name it "ShapeWeight"? I feel like this is a missed opportunity.

thirru2 karma

We actually tried a few names here and there. My all time favorite was ShapΓ¨z. Jokes aside we felt Shape + Scale is still very descriptive for what the product does. And often it's hard to explain something that's very new and most haven't seen before. What's your reasoning for ShapeWeight though? I could still see it a worthy contender for our volumetric measure. πŸ˜‰

coryrenton2 karma

is there a reliable "fixer" or service for screening and connecting reliable and trustworthy manufacturers with clients? what were your worst experiences in trying to find such manufacturers?

thirru2 karma

A few have tried to come in this field like Alibaba, Global Sources and a few others, but all of these platforms are typically being gamed. The most trustworthy manufacturers I've met through introductions from others in the business. It's still pretty much of a relationship business, unfortunately.

Early on, I had tried going through these marketplaces and it would be a hit or miss. Every now and then they'd turn out good, but then there'd be a rotten apple and it would be really bad. A friend had once witnessed his plastic supplier shut down and all the tools that were actually owned by their customers were confiscated by liquidators. The damage was over a hundred thousand dollar and they lost two months of time as they had to rebuild the tooling which is a lengthy process.

Most of the time it's more the subtle stuff that happens though, like a Chinese engineer getting clever and changing your design thinking money can be saved. But because he didn't get the intend of the mechanism, the entire function got compromised, which happened during the manufacturing of one my previous products. Created a ton of waste. That's why it's really necessary to have someone there on the ground to make sure everything goes according to what's been discussed.

ehnogi2 karma

What problem does this solve, and what exactly does it do for people? How does this replace a normal scale and a fat measuring tool?

thirru2 karma

The main problem we really are trying to solve is to create a better feedback loop. Right now, with a wave of fitness trackers and sports watches we have become pretty good tracking our exercises, except maybe for strength workouts. So I hear Athos has been doing a great job at that. Nutrition apps like MyFitnessPal allow you to track your nutrition as well.

Now measuring how changes in our diet and exercise affect our body and physique, that is something that is very hard to measure.

Scales are inaccurate. Mirrors and photos are pretty subjective to the viewer.

And that's how we have come up with ShapeScale. It's a device that will be able to tell you even after just a week whether you are progressing towards your desired goals. It makes things much more motivational for those that don't live and breathe fitness.

Eventually we hope to even go further and start correlating the data so that we can provide you with tailor-made advice on nutrition and exercise that match your desired "Shape" goals.

In phase II, we'll also enable other applications such as virtual fitting rooms / previewing clothing and fit on e-commerce sites. That's a model that requires more scale before it becomes applicable, but it's also a very exciting one.

ehnogi1 karma

As an average consumer, now I am interested.

I have seen that you are charging $299 for the product, and $299 for a lifetime subscription.

For body builders, and professional athletes this product is gold! But for the average gym rat (or even someone who has started dieting or losing weight), this product seems a little too expensive.

Do you see this price decreasing when you begin to mass produce them (in terms of materials cost). Has your team considered a "free" subscription with limited / basic features and charging a premium for extra options?

thirru1 karma

Yes, I get where you are coming from. Right now the tech is still pretty expensive and we initially tried selling just at ~499-599 and then asked those that found to be too expensive whether a subscription would help, which is why we introduced that model in the end. This actually allows us to subsidize some part of the hardware cost.

Comparable other solutions cost $1,000+ upward and right now I'm not seeing the cost come down in any major way until the next generation of the product a few years down the road.

We know the sweet spot would be $99~$199 total to reach mass-market, but alone with the mechanics involved that won't be possible until perhaps some of the tech makes its way into smartphones. The software involved will also need to become so sophisticated that you can simply spin around while your phone captures you.

I can not see that experience be as good nor as accurate, it's like comparing a DLSR with a smartphone camera a few years back, but now smartphone cameras at least meet a standard that is good enough for most of us. Maybe five years down the road we will see this becoming feasible.

More realistically we can see how ShapeScale will also make it into public places like malls, retailers and fitness clubs. It's not going to best experience, but it's something I can see that will make getting your 3D scan relatively inexpensive.

Only1finger2 karma

Why can't I grow a mustache?

thirru1 karma

HMM! Not sure what to make of it. πŸ˜‰

kasrose1231 karma

When do you think the first batch will be delivered?

thirru1 karma

It's not set in stone yet, but goal for batch 1 is right after Chinese New Year next year. Still dependent on the industrialization process with our OEM in China. But things are looking good so far!

Joe19721 karma

Hi, Great idea! How long before this will be available in other parts of the world? I live in South Africa and this seems like the perfect tool to keep track of how I'm doing in my journey to lose weight and gain some muscle. Also, how many different profiles can it keep track of?

thirru1 karma

Hey Joe,

While SA is not on our list as of now. We'll be working with distributors next year for places outside of North America. Shipping and also duty/taxes make it a little harder as we need to use ground shipping where we can, which is why we will bulk import to places like Europe and Canada and then off-load it trucks to reach all destinations there. Due to the weight air shipping becomes rather expensive. Add customs to that and it becomes a logistics nightmare.

Joe19721 karma

Thanks ;) I'll have to make another plan then

thirru1 karma

I can check with our supplier and get an estimate on the shipping if you DM me I might be able to make an exception. But you'll have to bear the extra shipping.

BrawndoSalesRep1 karma


thirru2 karma

Privacy is extremely important to us knowing that we handle sensitive data. It's also part of the reason why ShapeScale is primarily a home product. There are already some solutions outside in public settings but a lot of people do not feel comfortable getting scanned half-naked in an environment as such, especially when the device is being operated by say a retailer or fitness club.

Only you will have complete access to your account and data, and similar as found in Facebook connect you'll be able to selectively share data you choose with 3rd parties. For instance you wouldn't necessarily want to share all your data with a tailor, as your girth measures will be enough.

Shape servers protect also encrypt all data in motion with 128-bit AES SSL/TLS encryption or better. We will break up your data as much as possible and tie it to anonymous IDs, making it extremely hard for humans and extruders to tie your scanning data back to you. In addition, we take commercially reasonable steps to protect data that we collect through our Services against unauthorized access.

Also it goes without saying that Shape Team Members will never review or have access to individual scans unless the selected participant shares their scan with us or is opting in for a study or beta program.

akoya171 karma

I was super excited for this and nearly bought one - $200USD shipping to Australia made me pause, and then I saw "shipping early 2018" - I haven't even seen a video of this thing actually in use. There's your fancy marketing video but I mean a real time, "Here's someone using it and here's exactly what it does" video. I just can't throw hundreds of dollars at something I've never seen in use with a "oh you'll get it in a year" line. Are you going to have some more realistic vids of it in use?

thirru2 karma

It really shouldn't be $200 for Australia but $100, mostly because we need to airship to Australia and that's pretty expensive for the moment given the weight and size of the device.

As for an actual use video you can check out our TechCrunch battlefield demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXq1-zRjm5A

PC World also did a hands-on demo video on here: http://www.pcworld.com/video/77555/shapescale-3d-body-scanner-hands-on

We'll have more videos come live over the next few weeks. Working on the content as we understand how important it is...

TheAceMan1 karma

The scale looks amazing but who one earth do you plan on selling a $500 scale that requires a $120 subscription to? I would love to see your business plan. I think your potential customer base is way too limited for this to work.

awayenberg1 karma

One could have said the same about Peloton couple of years ago when they did their Kickstarter. We need to start with a few people that care a lot. The first Tesla was not the model 3.

TheAceMan2 karma

Peloton is a much easier sale because people were already used to spending a ton of money on spin classes. Most people spend no more than $20 on a scale.

Also, Peloton has an insane marketing budget.

thirru1 karma

Everything needs to start somewhere. Peloton started with a small Kickstarter selling at that exact pricing with almost no marketing budget (see https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/568069889/the-peloton-bike-bring-home-the-studio-cycling-exp).

Fun fact, we initially tried selling ShapeScale at $499 (with later MSRP $899), then we surveyed those that didn't buy if they would buy if they'd pay $9.99/month and less money upfront, and quite a few bought into the model. But yes, not everyone likes it which is why we still offer the lifetime subscription model.

All of this helps subsidize the hardware cost and will enable us to really do great things with the software. Eventually we want to roll out other cool things like virtual coaching (that's more Peloton esque), which will then save you money on getting a personal trainer.

TylersLane1 karma

Whats your favorite songs?

thirru2 karma

Come as you are from Nirvana. Grew up listening to this over and over again. πŸ˜„

monkeyshenanigans0 karma

How does one become a part of the team?!

thirru1 karma

You can send us an email to [email protected]. Right now we are looking to grow our hardware and computer vision engineering team.

soccerplaya7270 karma

I'm glad I'm on the preorder list! I can't wait until I get my Shape Scale. In terms of longevity, how long can we realistically expect the ShapeScale to last (in years)? I don't really know the procedure that you would go through in the labs to answer this question when you are going through you internal testing processing, so I'd love to learn something about how you determine the longevity of your product before releasing that information to the public. Hoping my question makes sense! Thanks again for doing this.

thirru0 karma

Durability and longevity are super important to us and also part of the reason why we eventually changed our design last year to make ShapeScale's robotic arm is sturdy as possible. The product itself will go through strict reliability and fitness-for-use testing with the OEMs test lab prior to shipping. This involves building custom fixtures that will repeat certain use-cases several thousand times (like arm rotations, someone stepping on a scale, etc). Please bear in mind that we can't vouch for situations such as someone dropping a ShapeScale out of window. πŸ˜‰

Jokes aside, we wouldn't ShapeScales to break after just a few uses. We really want this to be the last scale you'll ever have to buy.

tmar890 karma

So excited to have already pre-ordered mine! Congratulations on the launch. How will the shapescale work with multiple users and multiple devices (phones)? Does each person have their own account and connection to the device?

thirru4 karma

Hey glad to have you on board! ShapeScale will simply have multiple user accounts that you can either link to a family account or they can also have their separate login and use it from their own phone. ShapeScale will then be able to detect users automatically through it's body recognition algorithm and load it up to the matching account.

ErikTurner23-1 karma

Hey guys, just checked out the website love what you are doing with ShapeScale! Question : How did you come up with the idea?

awayenberg5 karma

It all started a couple of years ago I moved to China. It’s quite common there to eat rice and noodles for basically every meal of the day. So I started to load heavy on carbs by eating traditional food from morning till evening. A couple of months passed by and the noodles obviously started to show off, until one day my wife actually asked me if I was pregnant ?!

That was the moment when he realized, that I needed to change my habits. I bought one of the first connected scale, started dieting and exercising at the same time. After two weeks of extremely hard work, I stepped on the scale, but got some shocking news. The scale showed that I weighted 4 pounds more than my pre-diet weight.

First, I was very frustrated, but then I noticed that my body shape and appearance had actually changed a lot. I was definitely leaner and more toned. So I understood that I replaced fat with muscles. So the simple explanation behind my weight gain was that muscle takes less place but weights more.

It quickly became clear to me that tracking the shape, surface and volume changes in the body would allow for a much better measure of his progress than a body weight number. So we needed a device to track this minute changes that we could not see and this is how the idea of ShapeScale was born.

Not understanding how our body has been changing over time is a problem we all experience. People look at themselves in the mirror everyday and wonder how they look like compared to a week, a month or a year ago.

ErikTurner230 karma

Nice. Looking at how everything turned out, are you guys happy with the resulting product?

thirru2 karma

Yeah, well initially we wanted ShapeScale to be even smaller and less expensive. But it wouldn't have been accurate nor sturdy enough. Sometimes you need to make compromises, especially with a first version. That said, I believe most of the innovation will come over time with the software. We got many more plans such as body shape prediction and a virtual fitness coach. But first things first!

thirru-1 karma

Question is probably better answered by Alex since he had the initial idea and I'm sure he'll chime in a bit with his story.

But generally the idea was born out of our frustration that when you want to get in a better shape and you are putting in a lot of work you are not seeing the results until maybe in 1, 2 or even 3 months. Sometimes it even takes another person to point out that you look better or something.

You know we see ourselves nearly every morning in the mirror so we get so used to our own image that we cannot tell if and where exactly we are getting in a better shape. A scale is even worse yet, muscle weighs more than fat so if you are not going for pure weight loss your weight won't change much over a period of weeks or even months. Yet, we want to see that the diet and workout program we are following actually works (because often it doesn't!).

That's really how we started to brainstorm for ways of how we can measure or show these changes. To date most commonly professionals use DEXA scans or hydrostatic weighing to measure body fat which these do accurately. But you have to get an appointment and it costs a good $50-100 for each sessions, so you really only do it maybe every 2-6 months at best. What's more these two just give you a data point but they don't really show you what has changed. Like I said sometimes even with your eyes you cannot pinpoint that change until you compare maybe two photographs that are several weeks or months apart. And even those tend to vary depending on the lighting, angle and camera set up involved. There is actually a whole industry behind fake before and after photos, which is terrible!