An instructor of physical fitness and krav maga from Haifa is taking on the way athletes do their workouts.
Salay Haim Raveh’s startup company, Tropx, has designed innovative sports clothes with built-in sensors connected to an app that can boost performance and prevent injuries.
Raveh, who just turned 30, was a physical fitness instructor in the Israeli army and graduated from Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sports.
For 12 years, he worked as a personal trainer. But although he closely watched his clients as they trained, “I had no idea what was going on in their muscles, joints and tendons.”
He went to study mechanical engineering and biomechanics at ORT-Braude. While there, he met Dekel Nadaf, another mechanical engineering student. In addition to their regular courses, they studied entrepreneurship.
“I had the idea for the sensors in sports clothes and Nadaf worked on the concept,” Raveh said. “I saw the need to link what was going on inside people’s bodies with the exercises they were doing at the gym.”
“The body is very complicated,” Raveh tells ISRAEL21c. “I wanted to develop a system that would help people train and maximize their performance.”
Tropx’s sensors incorporate algorithms to analyze workout performance. The patent-pending algorithms read people’s heart rates, respiration rates and lactic acid levels during their exercises.
If movements are incorrect, real-time visuals allow users to adjust their movements based on the individualized feedback. Information is also assessed based on every athlete’s weak spots and sports goals.
For his initial research and development, Raveh received funds from Ben Gurion University’s Cactus Capital, the Israel Innovation Authority and Maccabi Haifa Carmel, Israel’s largest sports association that has 16 branches around the country.
He also took part in the 8200 IMPACT acceleration program for Israeli tech startups that aim to solve significant social and environmental problems through advanced technology.
Raveh then founded Tropx in 2020 with a small group of sports enthusiasts and engineers, including his childhood friend, Gal Abir, who grew up with him in the same building in Haifa.
“Gal graduated with a double degree in mathematics and computer science from the Technion so I knew he was smart and responsible,” Raveh said, signing on Abir as chief technological officer.
Waterproof and made to travel
Raveh’s goal is to make high-performance sports clothes with sensors that convey the information to the wearer as well as coaches and trainers.
For example, he said, a coach monitoring a soccer practice will receive an alarm that “player #8 is in danger of pulling a hamstring.”
The coach can then send the player to a gym where he can do a workout “not to build muscles but to make him a better soccer player on the field.”
There are other sports clothes that now have camera monitors, “but you can’t run with them and you can’t swim with them.” Raveh’s sensors will be waterproof and made to travel.
“This is a holistic approach to enhance performance by athletes in all types of sports,” Raveh said, adding that Tropx will test its technology on Maccabi athletes by the end of 2023.
Abir says the company is aiming to develop algorithms for over 100 different exercises. The R&D is being done under the guidance of Prof. Ella Bean, head of sports therapy at Ono Academic College; and Hayim Makabee, a software developer.
Raveh situated his office near the Haifa Port, which “has become the northern hub of startups,” he said. He is the first person in his family to become an entrepreneur.
It’s hard not to notice his muscles. He works out hard in the gym and makes it his priority to stay in shape.
“I have to look like a trainer,” Raveh said. “My body is like my business card.”
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