12 new or soon-to-be-released fitness devices worth a look
By James A. Martin, CIO, 25 May 2016.
By James A. Martin, CIO, 25 May 2016.
Everything is "smart" these days, it seems, especially when it comes to gadgets designed to help people improve their health and boost fitness levels. Smart mirrors and body scanners, smart running socks, a smart vest, smart drinking cups, smart sleeves and smart sleep masks are all now available, or will be soon. Many of these Internet of Things things are wearables - except for the "naked 3D" full-body mirror, of course - while others are designed to be carried in a pocket or clipped to a belt or bra.
The following 12 devices, many of which aren't yet available, are all notable for some reason. So sit back, relax, take a sip from your smart water bottle, and check them out.
1. Naked 3D Fitness Tracker
What it is: Naked 3D Fitness Tracker is a full-length mirror with a built-in body scanner, and it's "the world's first 3D fitness tracker for consumers," according to its manufacturer. The mirror incorporates Intel RealSense 3D sensors for body imaging, along with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for setup and syncing data to its companion mobile app. The included turntable and scale rotates 360 degrees when you step on it. Its goal is to help you better understand your body and visualize progress toward goals.
Cool factor: Using the mobile app, you can create a "custom time lapse" of your body's progress.
Uncool factor: It's expensive and won't be available for almost a year.
Price and availability: Currently available for preorder for US$999 (discounted to US$599 as of this writing), and it's expected to ship in March 2017.
2. AIO Sleeve
What it is: "The world's first activity tracking compression sleeve," AIO Sleeve claims to be more accurate than the average fitness tracker at gathering data, such as heart rate information, because it covers the entire arm, rather than just a wrist. The developer says the sleeve's sensors go beyond typical step, distance, sleep and heart rate tracking by using ECG and MET readings, which tell you how your body responds to physical activity while you work out, so you know whether to step it up or slow down.
Cool factor: It provides ECG readings for workouts.
Uncool factor: The sleeve can't possibly be comfortable in hot weather.
Price and availability: Currently available for preorder for between US$99 and US$130, and it's expected to ship in September 2016.
What it is: GOQii is a digital fitness coaching service that pairs with a wearable activity tracker, and it's designed to help you make sense of all the data your tracker collects. GOQii coaches are certified nutritionists, personal trainers and life coaches, and they aim to help you better understand your activity data, as well as use that data to make healthier choices, according to the developer.
Cool factor: The service includes a monthly call with a coach to review your data, and it lets you text message coaches from within the GOQii app. The service integrates with popular wearables from Fitbit, Jawbone, Google and Apple, so you can use it along with many different activity trackers.
Uncool factor: That name. It's also a little pricey, but the monthly fee includes a tracker.
Price and availability: Currently available for US$29 a month.
What it is: A smart sleep mask, Neuroon promises to help you beat jetlag. A "smart pack" is embedded in the eye mask and contains four biometric sensors that measure EEG, EOG, pulse, motion and temperature, along with four LED lights (to help you "reschedule your body clock" when traveling across time zones) and two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. A companion app syncs sleep data via Bluetooth.
Cool factor: It's a sleep mask with built-in lights!
Uncool factor: How well will you really be able to sleep while wearing a sleep mask with built-in lights?
Price and availability: Currently available for US$299.
What it is: Soltrackr is designed to measure UV radiation levels and provide personalized feedback via a mobile app. The device can help you determine how long you should stay in the sun, which SPF level sunscreen you need to apply, and how much vitamin D you absorb. The "wireless health companion" also promises to provide biofeedback, to optimize workouts and manage stress levels. It measures heart rate and blood oxygen levels, as well, and records improvements in cardiovascular fitness.
Cool factor: It's reasonably priced and fits on a key ring.
Uncool factor: Does anyone really need another gadget to carry?
Availability: Now available for US$49, though it's currently backordered.
6. Thin Ice
What it is: Thin Ice is a piece of "smart clothing" that's designed to be worn under clothes. Its goal is to help your body burn up to 1,000 additional calories each day, if you wear it for four hours. The garment, controlled by a mobile app, reportedly "cools parts of the body with high concentrations of thermo receptors, which stimulate the brown adipose tissue (BAT) pathway." This specific pathway supposedly burns "bad fat," which produces heat and eats calories in the process.
Cool factor: It's supposed to burn calories without its user having to do anything.
Uncool factor: It sounds too good to be true, and the vest looks bulky.
Price and availability: Currently available for preorder for an "early bird" price of US$99, and it's expected to ship in November 2016.
What it is: Zenytime is a Bluetooth-enabled puck that fits in a pocket, and you can whip it out, and then blow into it to measure two stress biomarkers: heart rate variability, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia. The developer says Zenytime checks "the actual impact of stress on [users'] brains and bodies in real-time." The gadget, when paired with a mobile app, employs interactive breathing games to collect your baseline data and coach you toward reducing stress.
Cool factor: It's available in multiple colors.
Uncool factor: If you don't like games, you probably won't like Zenytime.
Price and availability: Currently available for preorder for US$99, and it's expected to ship in June 2016.
What it is: Spire is a small gadget that clips to a belt or bra, and it is designed to help you manage stress by monitoring your breathing patterns via the rise and fall of your chest or stomach. The device pairs with an iOS app, which charts inhales and exhales in real-time and provides alerts when your breathing patterns suggest you're stressed. The app also provides guided meditation exercises.
Cool factor: Spire, which looks like a stone with a clip, "can tell you you're stressed before you're even aware of it yourself," according to Outside magazine.
Uncool factor: A Forbes reviewer says he "occasionally got false reads."
Price and availability: Currently available for US$150.
9. Rufus Cuff
What it is: Rufus Cuff is an Android OS-based "wrist communicator" with a 3.2-inch color display that works as a standalone device for video and voice communications over Wi-Fi networks. The Cuff has an accelerometer, gyroscope and compass, as well as GPS for activity tracking. It's designed for consumers and industrial users, and the developer says it can "easily integrate into B2B communication networks that have an existing Wi-Fi infrastructure." Rufus Cuff can also run apps, surf the Web, and do basically anything that an Android device can.
Cool factor: It's a tiny tablet you wear on a wrist, and it's made in the United States.
Uncool factor: Do you really want to wear a tiny tablet on your wrist?
Price and availability: Currently available for preorder for US$299, and it's expected to ship in July 2016.
10. Sensoria Fitness Running System
What it is: Sensoria's Fitness Running System combines two pairs of "smart socks," two anklets, and a sports bra for women, or a smart t-shirt for men. The system measures steps, calories and pace to provide running feedback, such as how your feet land. The sports bra and shirt both monitor heart rate. Everything connects to the Sensoria Fitness mobile app. The developer recently released a new iOS app, Sensoria Walk, that's designed to track steps, distance and cadence, and it's meant for use by consumers and patients in rehab following a stroke or surgical procedure.
Cool factor: You don't need to wear a chest strap or wristband for heart rate monitoring, and you get feedback on running performance.
Uncool factor: It's a bit pricey.
Price and availability: Available now for US$399 for men, and US$389 for women.
What it is: The Nex band is a modular wristband that features five touch-sensitive, LED-lit modules, called "Mods," which snap on and off. Each Mod can be programmed using an iOS app, to do things such as track activities, control music, take pictures (via a connected smartphone), and manage smart home devices. Integration with the popular IFTTT service lets you create other, similar "hacks," as well. Nex's developer offers an SDK and API to encourage third-party companies to add more functionality to its Mods.
Cool factor: The Wall Street Journal says Nex "feels like what the Apple Watch was supposed to be."
Uncool factor: If you already wear an Apple or Android smartwatch, a Fitbit or other band, do you have any more room on your wrists for another wearable?
Price and availability: Available for preorder for US$99, and it's expected to ship during the summer of 2016.
What it is: Vessyl is a"smart cup" that reportedly measures and tracks "everything you drink" from it, according to the developer. Trying to cut down on caffeine? The cup can track how much you consume. Want to lose weight? Vessyl tells you how many liquid calories you quaff. Need to cut out sugar? Vessyl monitors your liquid sweet-treat intake. Its associated mobile app shows stats and lets you set up "lenses" to track goals.
Cool factor: The cup looks sleek.
Uncool factor: It's been in development since at least 2014 and is still not available.
Price and availability: Projected price is US$199, but it's unclear when Vessyl will be released.
[Source: CIO. Edited.]