Designing for Strength Training in 3 Dimensions

New York based Proteus Motion is reinventing strength training through their new resistance training machine, which measures strength in 3 dimensions. The Proteus System creates an equal amount of resistance in all directions of motion, creating the sensation of moving through water. This low-impact exercise benefits users ranging from post-op rehab to peak performance athletes. The system also collects feedback and maps it across any movement pattern, providing tools for coaches and doctors to evaluate consistency of movement and track progress.

The company partnered with Anvil Studios to help define the user’s physical experience and industrial design for the new system. With diverse experience in industries ranging from consumer electronics, high-end audio, medical and life sciences, housewares and cycling, Anvil Studios was well equipped to help bring the product to life.

The design objectives began with the need to support a “light touch” user experience, requiring the system to operate as a stand-alone, fully autonomous product requiring zero set-up. Compared against traditional Selectorizer strength equipment, the Proteus System users only need to touch the hand-grip on a single machine in order to run through 17 different exercises in 4.5 minutes for a full body strength assessment.

Additional design requirements included the need to create intuitive and non-intimidating outer housings that are cost-effective to manufacture and durable enough to withstand public use. The design team strove to create aesthetics that balance strength and muscularity with the feelings of ease and approachability. The designers sculpted forms with crisp surfacing details to convey internal muscular strength.

To reduce the visual mass, the robust outer enclosures needed to be minimal and efficient. Adopting a “shrink wrapped” philosophy, the compact, asymmetric shrouds cover only the mechanical components in order to expose as much of the core structure as possible. The torso and linear arm covers include translucent windows that showcase the moving mechanic elements within. This final design is a bold gesture that embodies the system’s dynamic nature while welcoming professional athletes and novice users alike.