From the pain in my right calf, I am pretty sure I walked all 1.6 million square feet of show space at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2012). Of course, if I was wearing a FitBit, MotoActv or Basis Watch there would be no guess work involved. I could share all my health status from CES with you via an online site – see how many steps I took, when I hit peak heart rate, what music got me going and the exact moment when I turned into an over-stimulated zombie.
Perhaps that last one is not available yet, but pretty much all your health and fitness information can now be tracked and shared online. One of the clear trends at CES 2012 was an explosion in Health and Fitness gadgets that can track everything you do, share your information via the cloud and turn working out into a giant online social game. Still, have a few health related New Year’s Resolutions? Here are some gadgets that can help you out…
Get Moving…Just Don’t Stop to You Get Enough!
The FitBit Ultra ($99, by FitBit Inc) is an example of sophisticated technology with a drop dead easy interface. Clip the tiny FitBit to your pants, bra or pocket and let it track all the activity you do all day. If you are very active, the tiny screen shows a tall, healthy flower. Spend the day on the couch and you end up with a sorry looking flower. Sync the FitBit with your computer and see all types of pretty graphs, charts and data on your activity. As with all of these health gadgets, the website is filled with badges, levels and awards you win for being more active.
Ever feel like you need a personal trainer and your own personal soundtrack just to get you going some days? The Motorola Motoactv ($249, Motorola) is the fitness gadget for you. The Motoactv is a watch with a built in GPS and music player. Download your favorite iTunes playlist to the Motoactv and then get moving. The watch can track distance, speed, calories burned and heart rate (with additional strap).
As you listen to your music (via wireless Bluetooth headphones if you like) the Motoactv is keeping track of what music gets you going. After a few runs, the Motoactv will learn what song really gets you kicking and that can become your Fit Song. Feel like you are hitting a wall? Just hit the Fit Song and climb those stairs like Rocky! Of course, once you are done with your workout, you can spend your cool down time pouring over all the stats and graphs on the Motoactv website.
That picture just doesn’t do the Basis Watch justice. It looks so plain and simple, who would ever believe this watch shines a light through your skin and measure blood flow on an ongoing basis? If you like the idea of tracking your heart rate, but hate wearing a heat rate monitor strap, the Basis Band ($199) is the gadget for you.
With the Basis Watch you can track heart rate, body temperature, steps, distance, calories burned and more – all without using any additional monitors. Wear the Basis all the time and then upload the info to the website where you can determine, once and for all, in the most scientific of ways, if you are a pathetic couch potato. If you are not, click a button and share this new found knowledge with your friends who have mocked your slug like lifestyle.
How Do You Get Video Game Addicted Kids Active and Outside?
By making physical activity into a video game of course. We discussed the GeoPalz Pedometers ($15-$25) in our article on Top Gadgets from CES 2012 For Parents, but here is the quick recap… The GeoPalz are super simple pedometers that kids can wear on their shoes. Enter the info on the website and kids are rewarded for hitting certain goals. As in any good video game you get badges, rewards and level up. The cool part is that kids can win actual prizes for being active and those prizes are motion based gifts like baseballs and soccer balls.
What If I Want All the Cool Tracking Data, Without Having to Constantly Check My Watch?
If you are on a bike, booking down a mountain at 40 MPH, you should probably keep your eyes on the road instead of looking at your watch or cycling computer. Does this mean you can’t get information about your heart rate? Not anymore. 4iiii Innovations has released the Sportiiiis ($199), Sportiiiis is a Heads Up Display and audio system that gives you feedback on critical performance data.
Clip the tiny Sportiiiis to any pair of glasses and you get a display of lights at the bottom of your field of vision. Sportiiiis works with any Ant+ enabled devices to visually tell you when you hit different heart rate ranges. In addition, there is a small speaker in Sportiiiis which can announce your heart rate information when you tap it. As an added bonus, you get to feel like a cyborg.
Let’s Not Forget the Health Part of “Health and Fitness”
CES 2012 didn’t just feature an explosion in Fitness gadgets, health gadgets were also in high supply. Back in the good old days of 2011, a health “gadget” might be a home scale, blood pressure monitor or a device to check blood sugar levels. Flash forward two weeks into the land of 2012 and suddenly every health monitor interfaces with your iPhone and uploads all your health data to the cloud.
Withings make a plethora of Wi-Fi enabled health devices that interface with your iOS device. Little Franky looking a little chubby? Throw him on the Smart Body Scale and check and graph his body weight. Concerned you may have put on a few pounds over the holiday, step on the Wi-Fi Body Scale ($159) and take a look. Oh no, the number from the Wi-Fi Body Scale freaking you out? Stay calm, strap on the Blood Pressure Monitor ($129) and make sure you are in a healthy range.
What makes all these Withings devices high tech is the fact that all your health info can be uploaded to your phone, tablet or website and analyzed until you have a panic attack. In truth, the ability to set goals and easily share all your health information with your doctor may actually be helpful.
If you are going to have health devices that work with iPhones and iPads you need to have a company that starts with an “i”. Enter iHealth. The iHealth Blood Pressure Dock ($100) is yet another device that allows you to take your blood pressure and store all the data on your iOS device. iHealth also makes an iOS enabled scale and soon to be released glucose monitor.
No More Excuses, Get Out There And Exercise…Or We Will All Know
We have not even talked about all the other fitness devices on the market from big players like Polar, Nike, Timex and Garmin. It does seem like 2012 will be the year that fitness and health gadgets go from cutting edge toys to mainstream devices. Regardless of the manufacturer, one theme is clear, turn exercise and health into an online game that can be played and shared with others. We fully expect that by CES 2013 someone will invent a device that allows you to hack your health and fitness data so you look more like Lance Armstrong and less like Barney.
These Are Not Reviews, Repeat These Are Not Reviews
As regular readers know, we only review products once we have had a chance to fully test them out in a real world setting. At this point, we have seen quick demos of the products at CES and we were impressed, but we will need to do full reviews before we can recommend any of the products on this list. Some of these gadgets have not even been released yet, but once they are available we will try get our hands on these gizmos so we can do full, real world reviews.
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