Graphics Innovator Peter Ma Brings AI to Interactive Video Yoga Classes
Among the health concerns related to COVID-19 is that exercise is down and stress is up. MixPose*, developed by Intel® Software Innovator Peter Ma, offers a solution to both these issues. How? By enabling people to participate in live two-way streaming video yoga classes at home with personalized instruction. Given the current global situation, the MixPose platform comes at a time when yoga students and instructors are open to using technology in new ways. You can try out a free yoga class at Mixpose.
Peter Ma, co-founder/CEO of MixPose, is an active contributor since 2014 to the Intel® Software Innovator Program. Now expanding to support the efforts of graphics developers and creators, the Intel Software Innovator Program is adding a new Xe Community track. Its emphasis is on users creating applications and experiences that run on Intel® Iris® Xe architecture.
How Covid Created a Challenge and an Opportunity
Traveling to and participating in hackathons played a major role in how Ma made his living. But then, due to the global pandemic, he suddenly found himself stuck at home.
According to Ma, once the lockdown went into effect, several things happened at once. He lost much of his income, the in-person yoga classes he attended were canceled, and his yoga teacher friends were out of work.
The idea for a live streaming platform that uses real-time AI pose estimation on an edge device was something that Ma had considered at a previous hackathon. He then transformed his idea into a product that would solve challenges he and his friends were experiencing.
“We saw the need to keep people active during the pandemic and give them a sense of belonging to the community,” said Ma. “Before Covid, many yoga instructors and students didn’t feel the need to practice online. Now, that’s all changed."
The Right Solution for the Right Time
With lockdowns in place, the yoga community is embracing AI. The technology is at a mature enough point that an instructor in Mumbai can offer live yoga classes to students in Minneapolis or anywhere else in the world and build a devoted following.
What distinguishes the MixPose live streaming platform from other online yoga and fitness classes is the use of real-time AI pose tracking on mobile devices to detect each student’s movements and positions.
“The data is classified using AI,” said Ma, “and our algorithm can alert an instructor in real-time to which of their students’ yoga poses are correct or not."
The instructor can then offer feedback, by coaching a student into the right position and praising others, as if they were all working together in the same studio.
Intel® Technology Provides Flexibility and Power
MixPose is currently experimenting with the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit and the libx264 codec via Intel® Iris® Xe MAX GPU. In its original configuration, MixPose relied on a CPU to encode video and run the operating system.
“OpenVINO™ allows us to use the GPU to process pose detection and perform video encoding, reserving the CPU purely for the operating system,” said Ma.
Other Intel technologies that support MixPose include Intel® RealSense™ cameras, Intel® DevCloud, oneAPI, and Intel® Distribution for Python*.
“The Intel Software Innovator program has helped me experiment with different technologies,” said Ma, “ranging from AI to Intel DevCloud to AI on the Edge."
Besides MixPose, several other of Ma’s AI-focused projects, such as Clean Water AI, were created with the help of Intel and the support of the Intel Software Innovator Program.
Building a Flexible Business with AI
MixPose has evolved from an idea into a working app that runs on Android* and iOS* devices as well as on the Internet. Currently, 15 instructors and 5,000 students use the platform. The number of students is projected to grow to 20,000 by the end of 2021. The basic streaming feature for MixPose will be free for the remainder of 2021, so for those who are interested, you can now try out a free yoga class to keep up with health and wellness.
“With MixPose, we enable yoga teachers to develop a real business,” said Ma. “Our platform includes a suite of tools that makes it possible for them to scale beyond the limitations of a physical studio."
Elevate Your Graphics Skills
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