Fitness Technology that Goes Beyond Wearables
It is the beginning of January and that means two things - broken New Year’s resolutions and the tech event of the year, CES. In this article, we will explore what happens when you put the two together.
Wearable fitness devices are still all the rage in 2015, including Fitbit, which claims more than two-thirds of the fitness band market. But wearable devices with embedded technology have grown up and moved past simple band trackers. We’ve seen the VERT, a fitness tracker worn at the waist that tracks your vertical jump and Sensoria smart socks, incorporating pressure sensors to help monitor your running technique. Below, we’ll explore 9 devices embedded with tech that go beyond just wearables, to help you keep your fitness resolutions even longer. Maybe even until February.
The Adidas miCoach Smart Ball is a soccer training ball with integrated tri-axial accelerometer sensor and Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable battery, transmitting data using Bluetooth™ 4.0. The device helps players get an understanding of their strike and offers coaching tips to help improve their game. At $200, it is cheaper than some soccer cleats and just might add power to your kick.
Whether your sport is baseball, golf, tennis or softball, embedded fitness sensor technology will have you swinging. The Zepp sensors incorporate dual accelerometers, a 3-axis gyroscope and flash storage contained in a 1.1”x.5” LED equipped housing, to help you track your speed and hip rotation, depending on your sport. Data is transmitted via Bluetooth 2.1 to your Apple or Android device, where you can watch your swing in a 3D representation. As official licensee of MLB Players Association and PGA Tour Pros, you’ll find yourself in good company.
Yes, it is a wearable, but it is also the Internet of Things on your morning run, and since IoT architecture is one of Silicon Engines’ areas of expertise, we were curious about the
connectivity of the tech in this shirt. Cityzen Sciences, a consortium out of France, has put together a running shirt embedded with sensors and a gateway that links to your smartphone via BlueTooth. The sensor-embedded fabric senses the wearer’s heart rate, GPS location, and speed. But what makes it truly different is that you charge it by sticking it in the dryer. Not yet released to the public, this is one impressive tech-tile.
The DeskCycle is a low profile exercise bike that fits underneath your desk because, at only 10 inches, the DeskCycle has the lowest pedal height of all pedal exercisers. It weighs 23 pounds and uses magnetic resistance to help you challenge yourself. According to the folks at DeskCycle, people who exercise before or during work are happier, suffer less stress and are more productive. You’re welcome.
It is Marty McFly come to life. Using disc-shaped hover engines and magnetic repulsion to provide lift, the Hendo hoverboard founders launched a Kickstarter campaign looking to raise $250,000 for the skateboard of the future. The campaign sits, or rather floats, with over $500,000 today and they are hoping to release their first hoverboard in October 2015. If you would like to get one, it’s estimated to cost just $10,000 and you’ll need a skate park that’s covered in some sort of conductive material like copper or aluminum to ride it. But, barring those two things, you’ll be good to float. For 15 minutes until the battery runs out. But oh, those 15 minutes.
Nintendo does their best to get gamers off the couch with their Pokewalker accessory to the Pokemon HeartGold or SoulSilver games for the Nintendo DS system. Designed to look like a Poke Ball, the Pokewalker is a standard pedometer with a fun difference – you can load it with a Pokemon and then track the Pokemon’s steps. As you walk, you gain currency which allows you to battle or catch two additional Pokemon, use the item finder and find 3 random items. In addition, if you and a friend both have Pokemon in your Pokewalkers, you can connect them and your Pokemon can play together. The device contains an accelerometer, IR sensor and LCD screen. For those who prefer to wear a more age-appropriate fitness tracker like the FitBit but still want the gaming benefits of the Pokewalker, the device can be fooled by taping it to a ceiling fan.
You don’t want to sabotage all your hard work after a long workout, so get the HAPIfork, an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. Using an ARM® Cortex®-M0 processor, 3.7v lithium polymer battery, micro USB connector and Bluetooth communication, the HAPIfork brings the IoT to your kitchen table.
Via a circuit that links the fork tines to the handle, the electrical circuit closes when you put the fork in your mouth. Then the device is able to count the number of fork servings during the meal, helping you slow down your eating habits. According to the folks at Slow Control, the company behind HAPIfork, the device helps you “eat mindfully”.
Officially released at CES 2015, the rollerblade meets electric-scooter in the RocketSkate by ACTON. Strapped to your shoes, the RocketSkate and its 50 W DC Brushless hub motor can propel a 275lb person at a less-than-rocket speed of 12mphs and up to 10 miles before the Li-ion battery runs out. You lean forward to accelerate and, like traditional rollerblades, lean back to break. Feel like walking? You will need to do that on your toes. And, at 7 pounds each, that will be a workout in itself.
9. The Hug
Here’s another entry into wearable fitness, but for your water bottle not your wrist. Containing a sensor and connected to a mobile app, the Hug devices uses motion data and algorithms to track your water intake and ensure you stay properly hydrated. The Hug has two casings: a silicone band and plastic spring and the device is charged through a micro USB charging cable. The Hug is in pilot stage and is being tested through corporate healthcare initiatives.