Which fitness tracker is right for you? [Quiz]

Image courtesy of designmilk.

Image courtesy of designmilk.

There are so many fitness trackers out there now, how do you know which one to pick? While that’s really up to you, this #FitnessFriday Crunch Theory is releasing is an inforgraphic-quiz to help you pick one that meets your needs — and doesn’t break the bank.

The trackers featured are from established companies – Fitibt, Misfit, Jawbone, Basis, and Garmin – and vary in functionality and price.

FitnessWearable (1)

What did you get? Is it accurate? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jawbone Releases The UP2

Introducing the UP2. Image courtesy of Jawbone.

Introducing the UP2. Images courtesy of Jawbone.

Last week Jawbone released the newest addition to its popular fitness wearable line, UP2. At $99, the UP2 is one of Jawbone’s cheaper wearables, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on value.

So this is a tad confusing, but the UP2 is the successor to the UP24, and it’s about half the size.  (The order went UP, UP24, UP3 and UP MOVE, now UP2 and soon UP4.)

Although it’s designed to be an entry-way into the fitness tracking world, the UP2 comes with all features you’d expect from a Jawbone tracker. It still automatically tracks your activity and sleep, and the app still provides a relatively easy way to log what food you eat. It’s also still shower-resistant, so you can wear the band 24/7.

Other features include:
• Smart wake alarms for power naps or normal sleep
• Bluetooth connectivity for real-time updates
• 7-day battery life (!!)
• Vibrations for alerts and reminders, like when you need to take a pill or have been sitting for too long

The new UP2 comes in two different colors and styles.

The new UP2 comes in two different colors and styles.

The UP2 also has Smart Coach, which learns your habits and suggests ways to live a healthier, more productive life. For example, if it notices that you take more steps when you go to sleep earlier, it will prompt you to set a goal of going to bed a little earlier that day. Talk about using data to make you a better version you!

In addition to the UP2, Jawbone announced the upcoming UP4. The tracker, which will retail this summer, has the same features as the UP3, including heart rate monitoring.  Jawbone is also partnering with American Express to bring a tap-to-pay feature the tracker, the first fitness wearable to do so.

To learn more about the entire UP line, check out Jawbone’s website.

Related Reading
Go GoBe And Never Count Calories Again
Moov Is A Personal Trainer Disguised As A Wearable
Why I Have A Love/Hate Relationship With UP by Jawbone *Note that this review is for the original UP,

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Want to stay up-to-date with latest health/tech trends? Follow us to get emails when new posts get published, then follow Crunch Theory on Facebook and Twitter.

First V1sion Is The Tee That Broadcasts Your Life

Image courtesy of First V1sion.

Images courtesy of First V1sion.

Spanish start-up First V1sion has created a high-tech shirt that broadcasts your POV. The wearable is designed as a broadcasting tool for people to see what it’s like on the court/field of your favorite sports team.

First V1sion is a sports tee with a camera that can broadcast high-definition picture. It’s designed to be worn underneath jerseys, so the audience can see what it’s like on the field.

FIRST-V1SION-PRODUCT_CORDOBA-_1_LOW

The product was a finalist at Intel’s 2014 Make It Wearable competition, and just last month two professional sports players (footballer/soccer payer Andrés Iniesta and basketballer Serge Ibaka) became faces for the company. First V1sion also partnered with Euroleague basketball this season.

The idea of a court-side view of the game is intriguing, but early footage looks choppy, which is to be expected from all of the movement. The video quality, though, looks on-par with other broadcast footage.

I can see how player POV could be a nice feature to second-screen when watching games, or for replays of particularly noteworthy moments. I also can see how First V1sion could integrate other tech into the tee, so viewers at home can see stats of their favorite players like heart rate, steps taken, or max speed.

If you want your own First V1sion wearable, you can shoot an email from their website for a quote. Or, if you think it’s the next-big-hit in wearable tech and/or sports broadcasting, you can invest in the company through global funding website, BnkToTheFuture.com. Do note though that First V1sion has already extended its campaign, and while they do have some snazzy ads and a catchy slogan #BeTheBrave, there is still speculation about whether their novel idea will take off big time.

Like what you read? Check out more #WearableWednesday posts.

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Want to stay up-to-date with latest health/tech trends? Follow us to get emails when new posts get published, then follow Crunch Theory on Facebook and Twitter.

Handiii: The Bionic Arm That Costs Less Than $300 To Make

Handiii, the bionic hand that may change the industry. Image courtesy of Exiii.

This bionic hand may shake up the whole industry. Image courtesy of Exiii.

The future is here my friends, and it looks like Handiii, a robotic arm that can be 3D printed and controlled by the electrical activity in your muscles.

Handiii demoed at Maker Faire 2014. Image courtesy of Exiii.

Handiii demoed at Maker Faire 2014. Image courtesy of Exiii.

Handiii can perform simple tasks, like handshakes, pointing, or holding and releasing a ball. In a demo video with Ruptly TV, a representative says that the arm can be programmed with additional commands.

The electronic arm works through a smartphone connection and a EMG sensor, a device that can read the signals your body sends when you intend to move a muscle. You may have seen or heard about EMG sensors that work with video games or health technology.  Your smartphone then interprets these signals, causing the arm to perform different motions.

Exiii, the Japanese technology behind the arm, demoed it at this year’s SXSW. According to Exiii’s website, the creators wanted to design a reasonably priced, but still useful prosthetic limb. Most bionic arms with the amount of Handiii’s functionality cost $10,000 – $40,000, but Handiii was able to manufacture theirs for under $300.

Handiii is customizable. Image courtesy of Exiii.

Handiii is customizable. Image courtesy of Exiii.

Because Handiii is 3D printable, you can customize the colors, texture, and other aesthetic features of the bionic arm, and new parts can be reprinted as necessary.

You also don’t need to be an amputee to use the device. Handiii can be remotely controlled; however, the practicality of that is questionable.

The problem? Handiii isn’t available for sale yet. Exiii has yet to set a consumer price and is currently only selling their product to research institutions. BUT being able to even create a functional bionic arm for under $300 is a big step forward, and a sign that the prosthetic industry might be about to get a major overall.

Related Reading 
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Want to stay up-to-date with latest health/tech trends? Follow us to get emails when new posts get published, then follow Crunch Theory on Facebook and Twitter.

Go GoBe And Never Count Calories Again

The GoBe is the only automatic calorie counter.

The GoBe is the only automatic calorie counter.

The promise seems too good to be true – wear a band and never have to count calories again. And perhaps it is, but if “independent” studies are to be believed, then HealBe’s GoBe may be the most innovative wearable yet.

The GoBe is expected to ship March 2015.

The GoBe is expected to ship March 2015.

While the GoBe looks bulkier than something that I’d ordinarily want to wear around all day, the fact that it automatically tracks your calories consumed and burned as well as your sleep makes it one of the best bands about to hit the market. Using three different sensors, the band can also measure your activity level, heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels.

The feature that really differentiates GoBe from the rest is its ability to automatically measure calories, carbs, fat, and protein consumed without you inputting anything. The band does this by measuring water, which is released with other fluids when your cells absorb glucose.

As you may know, after you eat, the body starts converting food to glucose. Using an impedance sensor and an algorithm, the band can measure the amount of glucose in your body based on the amount of fluid moving in and out of your cells.

Healbe FLOW Technology

HealBe claims the GoBe can accurately measure 84% to 93% of your calories consumed and burned, which is more accurate than self-tracking. In a blog post, HealBe said it had the band checked from an independent company, but did not reveal particularly detailed data about what the studies involved.

As always I’m skeptical about those claims, and I’m not the only one. Until the GoBe is out and can be tested by truly independent researchers willing to release the full data, I’m going to remain healthily skeptical about its ability to automatically measure calories consumed.

Hopefully, though, we won’t have to wait too long before some independent researchers can get their hands on the device. HealBe, which raised over $1 million on their Indiegogo campaign, begins shipping next month.

You can pre-order their silver on black band for $299 or their special edition black on black band for $349.

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Want to stay up-to-date with latest health/tech trends? Follow us to get emails when new posts get published, then follow Crunch Theory on Facebook and Twitter.

Apple Watch’s fitness features unveiled

image

Image courtesy of Apple.

Apple revealed its new Apple Watch at the company’s March 2015 Special Event. With features such as a built-in heart rate monitor and personalized activity suggestions, the watch is much more than just an extension of your phone.

During your day, it displays critical fitness information – calories burned, brisk activity, and how long you’ve stood up. When you’re actively working out, it also provides metrics for popular fitness activities like walking, running, and cycling. It also includes a heart rate sensor, GPS, and  accelerometer to help you make the most of your day’s activity.

What impressed me most about the Apple Watch was its customizable activity suggestions. It uses your history to suggest personalized activity goals and reward milestones.

While the Apple Watch certainly has great fitness features, users will have to rely on third party apps for extended health and wellness functionality. For instance, their release did not mention that sleep or nutrition tracking would come standard, so users will have to get added apps if they want those features.

While other devices, particularly bands that exclusively track fitness, have these capabilities standard, Apple makes up for it with the watch’s seamless integration with iPhones and with expanded non-fitness functionality.

The Apple Watch is pricey compared to its competitors. (Although can you really say competitors when they don’t manufacture devices specifically for complete iPhone integration?) Their sport version goes for $349, the Apple Watch ranges from $549 to $1,099, and their luxury version starts at $10,000.

The Apple Watch will be released April 24, with pre-orders beginning on April 10.

As for whether its the right device for you, as I usually say, that’s a personal decision. If you want the best all around health monitor and aren’t preferential to iPhone integration, you’d probably be better off with a flagship wearable from Misfit, Jawbone, or Fitbit. However, if you want your device to train you for a marathon just as easily  as it unlocks your hotel room, then this may be better option.

Finally, if you’re an Android user like me, there are plenty of new high-end smart watches coming out this year that do just as much and cost less than the Apple Watch. I recommend taking a look at the new Pebble Time while it’s still on pre-sale.

Moov Is a Personal Trainer Disguised As A Wearable

Mood used as a cardio boxing coach.

Moov monitors your fitness and suggests how to improve.

It’s another #WearablesWednesday from Crunch Theory. Today I’m talking about Moov, the fitness tracker extraordinaire that puts other exercise wearables to shame.

Moov is a wearable that brands itself as a personal fitness trainer. The wearable, which is beautifully designed, can be worn around the wrist, ankle, or placed on shoes depending on your activity.

Moov is waterproof and can be used while swimming.

Moov is can be used while swimming.

Moov not only monitors your activity through common exercises like running, cardio boxing, and swimming, but it also offers suggestions to improve your fitness level and technique. For example, it can correct a golf swing or a running stride for optimal performance.

The fitness tracker was crowd funded over a year ago but is back in the headlines this week for adding a seven-minute workout feature. Like its other exercise apps, the seven-minute workout adjusts to what you can do, and then provides opportunities for you to level up as you increase your skill.

In honor of the new release, Moov is currently discounted on their website and on Amazon.

Most of the reviews on Amazon praise the wearable; one user even calls it “life changing.” With 4.5 stars, it outshines its direct competitors like the Fitbit Charge or Misfit Shine. Although one major drawback is that it does not feature sleep tracking.

 What do you think of Moov? Share in the comments below!

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Want to stay up-to-date with latest health/tech trends? Follow us to get emails when new posts get published, then follow Crunch Theory on Facebook and Twitter.

Two Projects Joining the Competition to Win Your Face

Hope you’re having a lovely #WearablesWednesday! There’s been a lot of talk about wearables for you face, like hype building around Microsoft’s HoloLens and the recent announcement of Sony’s entry into the eyewear market. This week, we’re looking at two projects still in development that are joining the competition to be the wearables for you eyes.

JinsMEME

  1. JINS Meme are glasses that focus on overall wellness instead of serving as a general media device. The frames track your eye movement and can relay when you’re happy to see someone, tired, or burning calories, according to their website. They also come in three different types: a full rim for hipsters; a half rim for the smarty pants; and giant sunglasses for people who want to spend money on a wearable they can’t use indoors. As of now, JINS Meme is still in the development phase, and they aren’t taking preorders. If you’d prefer to wear a set of glasses than a watch to track your fitness, then you might want to keep an eye out for these.
Image courtesy of EPFL press release.

Image courtesy of EPFL press release.

  1. A new glasses-contact combination, conventionally named Telescopic Contact Lens and Wink Controlled Glasses, allows you to zoom in almost 3x normal vision while you’re wearing the device. The zooming mechanism is controlled by a wink that the accompanying glasses register. The goal of the prototype is to help those with normal, aging vision be able to see things clearly that are further away.  It is currently being designed by researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland.

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Apps Are Just as Accurate as Wearables, According to a New Study

Image courtesy of Jason Howie.

Image courtesy of Jason Howie.

Before you drop hundreds of dollars on the latest wearable consider this: smartphones are just as effective at tracking physical activity as wearables, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania compared the step count accuracy of popular smartphone applications and wearable devices. They discovered that the smartphone apps were able to detect step count within a -6.7 percent to 6.2 percent difference. Wearables were a little less impressive with a -22.7 percent to -1.5 percent difference. However, it looks like that -20 percent error was an outlier due to one device unnamed by the researchers in the online brief.

As the research shows, downloading an activity tracking app may be the way to go for someone who is interested in tracking their physical activity but doesn’t want to spend the money on an expensive device or constantly wear a band around.

Do you want to accurately track your activity without using a band? Here are the apps the researchers looked at:

  • Fitbit (iOS) – Fitbit has both a wearable band and an app. Even without the band, the app can provide basic activity feedback like steps taken and has relatively good reviews on the App Store.
  • Health Mate (iOS) – Health Mate uses the iPhone’s own capabilities to accurately measure sleep and activity. It also has relatively good reviews on the App Store.
  • Moves (iOs and Android)- Moves is always on and able to track any walking, running or cycling you do. It also connects with other apps to provide a more seamless tracking experience. It has relatively good reviews on the App Store and Google Play store.

You can read the article online at JAMA’s website.

Must Reads:
Why I have a love/hate relationship with my Up by Jawbone
Wearables – Now You Can Try ‘Em Before You Buy ‘Em
The Wearable to Keep You Safe in the Sun

Wearables – Now You Can Try ‘Em Before You Buy ‘Em

Image courtesy of Lumoid.com

Image courtesy of Lumoid.com

Yes, you read that headline right. You can now try the latest wearables before you buy them to make sure you’re getting the right one for you thanks to Lumoid.

Lumoid, a website that previously offered a similar service for photography and video gear, is expanding their rentable gear to wearables. Currently, the site breaks down wearables into three categories: sleep tracking, fitness, and stay connected. That way, you can try the latest devices almost risk free to see if they’ll actually fit into your lifestyle.

It is important to note though that Lumoid’s service is not entirely free. You can request up to five wearables for seven days to try them out. However, if you choose not to purchase at least one of the five, then you’ll be charged a $20 fee.

Still, $20 is a heck of a lot better than sinking hundreds of dollars into a wearable and wishing you had gotten another kind. Or, even worse, spending money on the latest gadget just to realize that, like most people, you aren’t quite committed to wearing something all the time.