Technology Puts Fitness, Health Goals In The Palm Of Your Hand
By John Laposky On Jan 10 2012 - 5:01am
LAS VEGAS —
This year’s International
CES will offer an unprecedented number
of new products and technologies
designed to enhance a user’s overall
health and help reach and manage fitness
The show’s Digital Health and Sport &
Fitness TechZone, featuring more than a
dozen companies, will take up more than
15,000 square feet of floor space, offering
everything from simple pedometers
to 24-hour wearable health monitors.
One such product is BodyMedia’s
Fit Body system, which monitors and
tracks calories burned, activity levels,
fitness zones and sleep patterns. The
on-body monitoring system consists of
an armband monitor, online Activity Manager
(subscription required), an optional
display and free downloadable apps for
mobile device users.
The BodyMedia Fit armband uses sensors
to capture more than 5,000 data
points per minute — from body temperature,
sweat levels, steps taken and heart
rate — to offer an accurate measure of
calories burned, the company said. The
information tracked is managed with the
online Activity Manager, which also offers
a food log.
The unit is plugged into a computer’s
USB port each day to automatically upload
the day’s data. A user can log all
food eaten throughout the day via a computer
or mobile device, and the Activity
Manager tool will deliver a running report
of progress toward customized goals
set, including steps taken, time spent in
moderate and vigorous activity, nutritional
analysis and sleep efficiency, as well
as any personal bests.
Apps are available for Android 3.2 and
up devices from LG, Motorola, Samsung
and Sanyo, as well as Apple devices, including
the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
has rolled out a more robust version
of its Wireless Tracker, a wearable
wireless health and fitness monitor.
The new Fitbit Ultra tracks everyday
fitness activity with an accelerometer
that measures activity more accurately
than pedometers, the company said,
plus adds an altimeter for tracking stairs
climbed. It also tracks calories burned
and time slept.
Data is uploaded wirelessly to Fitbit.com
through an automatic sync function
whenever the Tracker gets within 15 feet
of the base station plugged into a PC’s
USB drive. A user can track data online
using a PC, Mac or an iPhone equipped
with the Fitbit app.
The online platform includes a food
log, weight tracker and suggested workouts.
The online Fitbit digital trainer studies
a user’s exercise and activity data to
give an unbiased, objective measure of
activity level. Using the data, the trainer
creates a personalized plan that leads
the user through 12 weeks of steadily increasing
activity goals, and tracks overall
progress. At the end of each week, the
Fitbit digital trainer evaluates the user’s
efforts and summarizes them in a report.
features a social-networking
element called Benchmark, which allows
a user to measure progress against
the entire community of Fitbit users, or
against specific demographic groups
Tokyo-based manufacturer Tanita
branching out from its core business of
precision electronic scales with its new
BC-1500 Ironman Radio Wireless Segmental
Body Composition Monitor.
The product gives individual body
composition readings for individual body
segments: trunk, right arm, left arm, right
leg and left leg, using eight electrodes, four retractable handgrip electrodes and
four standard feet electrodes.
Tanita said the BC-1500 is especially
useful for users who are monitoring the
balance of left and right side of body or
trying to build or rehabilitate a particular
part of one’s body.
The new U.S. Food and Drug Administration-
approved monitor communicates
with a PC running included
Tanita Healthy Edge software and other
compatible software, such as Microsoft
HealthVault, using ANT+ radio wireless
technology. It accurately monitors the impact
of a diet and fitness program by recording,
graphing and analyzing data on
a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis.
In seconds, the monitor can display
a complete body-composition profile,
including weight, total and segmental
body-fat percentages, body-water percentage,
total and segmental muscle
mass, physique rating, basal metabolic
rate, daily caloric intake, metabolic age,
bone mass and visceral fat.
The BC-1500 comes bundled with
an ANT+ USB Adapter and the Healthy
Edge software. The monitor operates on
four included AA batteries.
is at International CES to
show its line of consumer-friendly, digital
health care products for Apple devices
Among the products being exhibited is
the new iHealth Digital Scale with Bluetooth,
which enables users to test, track,
graph and share weight information on
their iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad.
The companion iHealth Digital Scale
app includes an easy-to-use interface
with data and graphics that allow users
to establish a personal profile using
gender, age, height and starting weight,
iHealth said. The app tracks weight fluctuations
over time and records results in
relation to daily activity, time of day, diet
and exercise. The app can be downloaded
free from the Apple App Store.
The iHealth Digital Scale has a suggested
retail of $69.95.
brought to CES its flagship
Striiv pedometer, a small wearable
device that incorporates games and
charitable elements to a fitness walking
Striiv motivates a user to achieve results
through user experience, such as
a virtual walkathon that counts a user’s
steps and gives based on achievement.
At no cost to the user, Striiv and corporate
partners donate on the user’s behalf
to a choice of three charities: providing
clean water to families in South America,
subsidizing polio vaccines, and helping
to save the rainforest. The more a user
walks, the more money is donated.
Also on the Striiv device is Myland, “a
game designed for non-gamers,” the company
said. The game’s mission places the
user on an enchanted island with the goal
of bringing back the animals that inhabit
the island by planting trees and building
huts. Growth and new levels are based on
walking, running and taking the stairs.
The device sports a 2-inch high-resolution
touchscreen that displays steps
taken, stairs climbed, calories expended
and distance traveled.
Striiv is designed to clip anywhere,
such as a purse, belt or pocket. It ships
with a quick-release keychain and boasts
a very compact 2.75-inch by 1.7-inch
by 0.5-inch form factor and weighs 1.4
ounces. It retails for $99.
And finally, for the more sedentary
is showing at CES its
sleep-aid device, the Somnologic
Infuser, which the company said is the
result of years of research into technologies
that promote healthy, natural sleep
patterns through sound therapy.
The sound-producing device is said
to help a user cycle through the natural
patterns of a healthy human’s sleep —
through varying depths of slumber and
episodes of rapid eye movement (REM),
usually about five cycles a night — to
awake fully refreshed.
The Sleep Infuser offers various sleep
programs designed to calm the body,
induce sleep and promote more natural,
high-quality sleep, Somnologic said.
A Deep Sleep cycle takes listeners
through all five sleep stages over eight
hours. An Easy Sleep cycle delivers the
optimum sleep patterns in the time available
between the start of the program
and a pre-set alarm time.
A Fall Asleep cycle is a 90-minute
program designed for those who have
trouble falling asleep but, once having
done so, usually remain asleep through
the rest of the night.
A Power Nap cycle offers a selection
of short sleeping periods between 15
and 60 minutes.
Somnologic audio technology delivers
eight sound environments: four nature
environments — Ocean, Brook, Rain
and Wind; a rhythmic environment called
Train; and three “cocoon” environments
that mask external noise — low-pitched
Brown, medium-pitched Pink and highpitched
All environments use established binaural
beat technology to support each stage
of the sleep cycle, Somnologic said.
Each of the Sleep Infuser programs
can be used with an optional Affirmative
Message audio stream, described by the
company as a complex pattern of sounds
and pulses that entice the brain into the
natural brainwave frequencies of rest and
sleep. These sounds are masked under
the chosen sound environment and are
barely detectable, but support relaxation
in the early stages of the program by employing
a particular type of voice, using
particular language patterns and a particular
frequency and volume developed
by established sleep research.