Chicago area gym opts for cameras and thumbprint scanners in place of staff

December 28, 2012 - 

A new gym in the Chicago area is disrupting the typical workout system and has opted for cameras and biometric thumbprint scanners instead of staff to allow members to pay as they go and workout whenever they want, reports.

Owner Freddie Wolner doesn’t plan to hire any staff, and has instead decided to employ the use of an extensive network of cameras to remotely monitor the gym himself, significantly reducing overhead costs.

“The idea was to be like a vending machine for a gym or a Zipcar, something that neighbourhood people might choose over a gym that they have to hop into a car to get to,” Wolner said.

The new gym, called My Time Fitness, is Wolner’s third gym and the high-tech camera system monitors patrons and features a series of panic buttons to contact 911 in the case of an injury or emergency.  Additionally, as pass swapping is an issue faced by many gyms, often requiring staff to monitor members coming in and out, Wolner will install a biometric thumbprint scanner to ensure only members can access the gym in the absence of a front desk attendant.

Access control is an obvious application for biometric technologies, and many gyms have adopted the technology to ensure only paid members have access to the facility as well as mitigate issues like lost passes and swipe cards.

As reported previously in, Lifestyle Fitness is using fingerprint access control pods from ievo to authenticate members. Also in, gym facilities at the University of Vermont are now using an M2SYS fingerprint scanner to grant members access.

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Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj