Smart Health: A Look Into Innovative Fitness Technology
Along with a bounty of recent patent announcements and the innovative new products introduced at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in January, it’s obvious that 2014 is the year for fitness tech.
In fact, social media monitoring tool Viralheat revealed that 88 percent of people discussing fitness on Twitter were excited about the emerging technology. So, to kick off this year on a healthy foot, let’s take a look at the top 10 new fitness tech products of 2014. While Fitbit led the race in terms of fitness wearables in 2013, accounting for 68 percent of all fitness wearable sales, a new contender may take its place in 2014 in terms of fashion and fitness — Misfit Wearables.
The Misfit Shine, which is a sleek and compact (no bigger than a quarter) wearable activity monitor, is so versatile in that it can be worn as a bracelet, necklace, or even on a clasp.
The Shine app will give you data on amount of steps/distance you’ve traveled, estimated calories burned, and even the quality of your sleep. For any consumer who has used Nike+ to track the distance traveled on their smartphone, Nike+ Fuelband is the more convenient option.
The Fuelband packs all the previous Nike+ functionality, plus more, into a wearable wrist-watch that monitors how much and how often you partake in physical activity. Using a user-friendly app, you can also sync your information to social media and compete with friends. It’s surprising to us all that Apple has yet to release a smartwatch, which is what we were expecting, but Apple did reveal that they were awarded a patent for fitness and health-tracking earphones and headphones.
These headphones will not only power you through a workout, but will also monitor movements and vital signs through embedded sensors.
They will also be able to detect motion, temperature, perspiration and heart-rate. While the product is only in beta, the Bing Health and Fitness app for Windows Phone allows users to record what they eat, get nutritional information about their food to help track diets, can recommend hundreds of workouts with instructions, monitor exercise, and even check for symptoms of illness. It is a very comprehensive journal of all things health-related. While Jawbone is known primarily for their JAMBOX speakers, they have recently been getting attention for the Jawbone Up24, a Bluetooth smart wristband which tracks activity and sleep, gives feedback and can wirelessly sync to the app. While there is no display on the wristband itself, it looks sleek and you can view all the data on the free app. The Sony SmartBand was introduced at CES 2014 and will be on the market this spring. It features a minute but extremely powerful microchip, called the Core, which links to Sony’s app and goes beyond simple fitness monitoring. Similar to Misfit Shine, the Core is a removable and tiny device which can be worn many ways. What is different is that the Core’s new LifeLog application will keep a catalog of when you took pictures, where you took them, and what music/entertainment you consume while it’s tracking.
The core can track your lifestyle and, in a way, visually play it back to you. In a revolutionary new way to workout, the new Fitwall is similar to a Bowflex system mixed with a rock climbing wall and a treadmill all in one. Advertising claims that it “trains smarter” since the system was designed by a martial arts expert.
The Fitwall features a simple looking 7 foot by 30 inch wall which is monitored by an iPad. After being analyzed by the iPad, the wall provides users with a custom workout. With a slew of all the activity-trackers to choose from, BioForce is a refreshingly different tool.
The BioForce is a heart rate variability (HRV) monitor which provides insight and suggestions based on your distinct heart rate.
The monitor can tell when you’re tired, precisely how you’re burning fat, and suggests how much more exercise you are able to do.
The system is compatible with any heart rate monitor. If you combined the Apple sensor earbuds and the BioForce HRV, you would emerge with the LG Heart Rate Monitoring (HRM) earphones. Paired with LG’s Lifeband Touch, the earphones are able to communicate how hard you are working and how much oxygen you are consuming.
The earphones can also connect to third-party fitness apps to provide more comprehensive workout data. This is a fitness junky’s dream: an all-in-one workout system. No longer do you have to rely on having a yoga ball, free weights or a bench to get your workout in. With Tao Wellness’s WellShell, you can workout anywhere.
The WellShell is a portable, electronic isometric device which connects to an app and suggests around 100 different workouts which you can do all on the small device. Kate Voss is a blogger in Chicago who covers a multitude of topics — everything from the entertainment industry, to technology, to health and wellness. Follow her on Twitter: @Kateevoss .
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