Tag Archives: workout fun

Goji Play: Gamify Your Halloween Calories Off!

Into the Dead zombie game (above) is another spooky game Goji Play has partnered with in time for Halloween.

I first wrote about Goji Play last December, and since then they have more than tripled the number of games linked to the platform. The device and fitness wearable attaches to any cardio machine to track workout metrics. The data relays back to a tablet or phone, which can be sync’d to any one of Goji’s games. The faster you move, the better you play in the game.

For those of you indulging in a couple pieces of Halloween chocolate, note how many calories these fun sizes can add up to! Here are the number of games (and minutes of cardio) it takes to burn off some of the top Halloween candies:

Goji Play comes with wireless controllers and a clip on activity sensor. Compatible games are available on any iOS device. At less than $100, Goji Play transforms any piece of cardio equipment into a gaming machine. Available at bluegoji.com or Amazon.com today.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pavlok: Change Habits and Train Behavior Through Electric Shock

Pavlok is a resolutions focused wristband that aims to change habits and train behavior through electric shock. Yes, the wristband sends a shock every time you miss a deadline, goal, or habit. The shock is noticeable – like a static shock on a cold, dry, winter day – but not enough to hurt you. The device can deliver around 200 shocks a day, which the company claims for a typical user will last 4 days on a full charge. 50 shocks a day! The founding team researched that it takes between 30-60 days to break most bad habits and create better ones – so after a couple months of continuous wear, you should be well along your way to a more accountable you.

For those who prefer not to be shocked so often (I would certainly be the one yelling ‘ouch!’ on the bus), beeping, vibrating, monetary penalties, and posting on your social network are other conditioning motivators. Pavlok is great for aspirational habits like waking up on time, going to the gym regularly, quitting smoking, and conquering time wasting distractions. The app monitors your goals and gives you real-time progress reports.

The Indiegogo campaign is halfway through, so if willing yourself to hit the gym via calendar reminders isn’t working, Pavlok might help.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Moov: A Smart Fitness Coach That Challenges and Improves Your Fitness

Moov is a new wearable that combines fitness tracking with real-time audio coaching. The device can be worn on your wrist or ankle* and sync’d with various apps depending on workout type. Moov is currently compatible with running, cycling, cardio boxing, and swimming. The device transmits your data (for running it includes stride length, impact, cadence, range of motion, etc.) to the app for analysis, and the app transmits in-the-moment feedback via your headphones. For instance, the feedback can tell you to shorten your stride to save energy so you can run faster, to land more softly, to swing your arms up and down (and not side to side), or to run with your shoulders back for better posture.

Running with Moov was fun – the coaching was unobtrusive but still effective. I changed my form while using it, opting for quicker shorter strides rather than large lunging ones to improve efficiency and stamina.

Based on your interval level performance, the app suggests higher or lower levels to try. It keeps track of all your data points so you can compare your progress over time.

*I wanted to test ankle vs. wrist accuracy for the device. I wore Moov on my wrist to do levels 3, 6, 9. The coaching worked great but when I stopped to end the workout on my phone it couldn’t find the Moov on my wrist – perhaps it was because I wasn’t moving it around enough when I stopped – and it lost all the data on that set. For best use and precision in running, I would suggest wearing it on your ankle. It’s light enough to ignore and small enough so it doesn’t affect stride length.

The data tracking on the Moov is excellent, which is a testament to the founding team – Nikola Hu, a former Apple and HALO game engineer, Meng Li and Tony Yuan. The company plans to roll out apps for other activities and uses going forward, and an Android app is slated for November 2014 launch. The second batch is available for pre-order now.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

LEO: A Smart Wearable With A Data Driven Recommendation Engine

Within several days, GestureLogic reached its Indiegogo funding goal on their first device, LEO. LEO isn’t just another wearable device that counts your steps or tracks motions. LEO measures biosignals (such as muscle activity and lactic acid levels) to calculate exertion – giving users recommendations on how to workout more efficiently and telling athletes when they are pushing too hard. Knowing when to stop or tone down the intensity helps avoid potential injuries. LEO’s feedback loop makes it an invaluable fitness tool. As the wearer changes intensity and speed, so does the real-time feedback from LEO – urging the user to push harder or continue to taper. LEO tracks your physical starting point, noting each specific user’s unique physiology, and sets goals based on these metrics. While it may be obvious that two different bodies with two different weights and peak heart rates should have two different workout plans even if the end goal (say losing 10 lbs) is the same – not many wearables are able to tailor workout routines like LEO can.

LEO’s key capabilities include:

  • Tracking muscle activity, hydration, lactic acid levels, heart rate, and movement
  • Providing education and advice throughout a user’s workout with simple and actionable recommendations
  • Identifying signs of future injury and recommending ways to avoid it
  • Improve training with intuitive visualizations with the raw data available
  • Competing with friends, comparing workouts with pro athletes and networking with the local fitness community

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Kurbo: Mobile Lifestyle App for Kids and Teens

Kurbo is a mobile app targeted towards kids and teens to help them learn about and maintain healthy eating and exercising habits. The app teaches kids about nutrition, labeling foods as green (good to eat anytime), yellow (eat in moderation), and red (eat sparingly).

Games on the app teach users about serving size and portions, and about exercise intensities. The program comes with a weekly coaching session to help provide additional support. Users set their goals and use Kurbo to help structure and plan for the week ahead.

If a user is allotted 35 reds a week and is attending a birthday party on Saturday, he can plan ahead by eating less “red” foods during the week so that he can fit in eating cake on Saturday (cake is definitely a red food). Kurbo doesn’t impose set diets on children, instead it gives them the ability to portion their calories and make small changes for themselves. Initially licensed from Stanford University and stress tested by SUNY Buffalo research, Kurbo aims to be a wellness and lifestyle app for children and teens, and lets them make decisions versus imposing rules. With this approach, 80% of Kurbo users lose weight. You can download Kurbo now for iOS devices.

Tagged , , , , , ,

FreeWavz: Wire-free Smart Earphones with Built-in Fitness Monitoring

FreeWavz, wireless smart earphones with immersive sound quality and medical-grade fitness monitoring precision has launched their Kickstarter campaign today.

FreeWavz combines the uniqueness of distraction free, stable (here’s a video of a gymnast with them on) wireless earphones with an expansive suite of health metrics tracking – including heart rate, calories burned, distance traveled, duration of workout, and oxygen saturation. The technology and design aim to give the most accurate readings. Other earbud-type wireless earphones are unable to match the accuracy of FreeWavzs because they only have a front sensor. By wrapping around the ear, FreeWavz pulse oximeters can sense the amount of red and infra-red light traveling through the earlobe, and then collect the feedback with a second behind-the-ear sensor, giving more precise oxygen and heart rate readings.

FreeWavz founder, Dr. Eric Hensen, is an ear, nose, and throat surgeon. Having worked with hard-of-hearing patients, Dr. Hensen brought his practical experience into creating FreeWavz, stating “This product was born out of customer feedback – from people in the gym, to those who bike and run, to patients complaining about traditional headphones – this product was made by combining user feedback and experience together.”

Also unlike earbuds, which block the ear canal (and are often jammed into the ear, causing discomfort while distorting the sound), FreeWavz projects sound into the ear canal, letting the canal “breath,” and in turn delivering crisper sound.

The two earpiece devices connect to a mobile app via Bluetooth, and each earpiece can be individually calibrated for frequency and volume. Additionally, users can use FreeWavz to answer phone calls and the earphones can be adjusted for environmental listen-through to accommodate busy street noise.

President & Chief Financial Officer Harry Ericson calls FreeWavz, “Google Glass for the ears,” because of the product’s expansive usability and reach. While it is now launched as a fitness wearable, potential future applications include use while driving (transmitting GPS directions), traveling (guided tour audio), or learning (classroom/education).

Go to Kickstarter to reserve your pair today; shipments planned beginning this October.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Skulpt: Quantify Your Muscle Strength and Definition

The Skulpt Aim is the first-ever non-invasive wireless device that measures the composition and quality of muscles. When you press it against major muscle groups, the device’s sensors collect thousands of data points to measure fat percentage and muscle quality in individual muscles as well as in the body as a whole.

MQ, or muscle quality, is a measure of your muscles’ strength and definition. The higher the MQ, the stronger and more defined a person’s body is. Recent articles have noted the dangers of being “Skinny Fat,” or being thin but not toned. Time said, “thin people can sometimes carry the most dangerous kind of fat – and not know it.” The Aim assesses the body by measuring four major muscles (biceps, triceps, abs, and thighs), to create an accurate estimate of your total body fat percentage and MQ.

The Aim tracks even the slightest improvements, and shows those results real time on their dashboard so users can easily visualize their progress. In addition to tracking progress and setting goals, the dashboard provides tailored advice, recommending workouts that specifically target muscles that need improvement.

Started as a medical-grade device that has been used in top US hospitals, the technology underlying Skulpt was first used to measure muscle health of patients with neuromuscular disorders. The founders, Jose Bohorquez and Seward Rutkove realized that their powerful and innovative tech could be simplified into a small, effortless consumer fitness device, and the Skulpt was born. Skulpt is a 2014 International CES Innovations Award winner in the Health and Fitness product category and supporters on Aim’s Indiegogo campaign almost quadrupled their fundraising goal amount. You can pre-order the Skulpt today; launch date May 2014.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Pact: Beautiful Redesign Incentivizes You to Keep Healthy Habits

Pact (formerly GymPact) relaunched this year with a new name and new features. The app penalizes you ($5 charge minimum per missed event), for not reaching your pre-set fitness, eating, and diet goals. On the flip side, you are monetarily rewarded for every goal you do reach.

For exercise, you can check into a gym, use apps like RunKeeper and Moves, or activity trackers like the Jawbone UP or Fitbit devices to measure your steps. For fruit and veggie tracking, you take a photo of your meal and post it on Pact to be reviewed and accepted/declined by others in the Pact community. The diet portion requires you to track your meals using MyFitnessPal.

The new app is designed cleanly and is easy to use, updating information from trackers and apps almost immediately. Weekly emails confirm how much you owe vs. earned.

Pact isn’t failsafe and people who want to cheat by checking into gyms they pass on the street or entering bogus meal info into MyFitnessPal can still earn the $0.10 to $0.30 per event – but with such low dollar values, it’s not worth it. With Pact I check my UP steps throughout the day, making sure that I get to 10,000 steps before the day is over because in the end it isn’t earning 25 cents that matters to me, but losing the $10. Pact is slowly changing my habits and it’s a great way to kickstart a health goal.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Best in Healthcare For 2013

2013 was a great year for consumer healthcare technology. This year, 95 million Americans have used mobile phones as health tools or as search devices to find healthcare information, paving the way for a more connected and health conscious 2014.

To continue with my annual Year in Review, I present some of my favorite companies and posts in 2013.

A big thank you to my readers for your support, ideas and input.

-Alexis

Best New Entrants into Wearables:

Best Smart Fabric Concepts:

  • Athos — Athletic apparel made with smart fabric and sensors to measure every muscle exertion, heartbeat, and breath
  • OMsignal  — Embedded sensors in the apparel monitor your heart rate, breathing, and activity

 Best Fitness Apps:

  • RunKeeper — GPS app to track outdoor fitness activities
  • Moves — GPS app to track daily activity continuously, shown on a timeline
  • Charity Miles — GPS app that tracks and lets you earn money for charity when you walk, run, or bike

 Best Personalized Coaching:

  • Sessions — Simple, individual, and thoughtful fitness program to help you get healthy
  • Wello — Online workouts with a Certified Personal Trainer in real-time on your mobile device over live video

A New Twist to Common Items:

  • HAPIfork — An electronic fork that monitors eating habits and alerts you when you eat too fast
  • Beam Technologies — A smart toothbrush that monitors oral hygiene and reports habits to a smart app
  • Withings Blood Pressure Monitor — Measures, calculates and tracks changes in blood pressure on graphs

Best Up and Coming:

  • PUSH — Tracks and analyzes performance at the gym; measures power, force and balance
  • Emotiv Insight — Multi-channel, wireless headset that monitors brain activity to optimize brain fitness and measures cognitive health and well-being
  • Scanadu Scout — Medical tricorder to measure, analyze and track vitals
  • MC10 — Stretchable electronics that conform to the shape of the body to measure and track vitals

Best for Healthcare Providers:

  • Pristine — Develops Glass apps to help hospitals deliver safer, more coordinated, more cost effective care
  • Informedika — Marketplace for electronic test ordering and results exchange between healthcare providers
  • IntelligentM — Data-driven hand hygiene compliance solutions for hospitals to dramatically reduce healthcare-acquired infections
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

EveryMove: Earn Points and Rewards for Every Move

EveryMove gives you rewards for moving. Seriously, you get points for the things you are already doing for your physical activity. Walking to work, running, biking, or mowing the lawn? Sync up your wearable activity tracker or manually input your activities to get rewarded and recognized by your health plan, your employer and national brands. Right now, over 160 brands use EveryMove to reach subscribers and reward them for activity. What was the thought process behind creating EveryMove? CEO and Co-Founder, Russell Benaroya tells us his story.

In 2005, Russell launched REM Medical, a network of comprehensive sleep centers to deliver leading quality sleepcare in the rapidly expanding field of sleep medicine. While at REM Medical, he saw that nearly 80% of their patients were being treated because of poorly made lifestyle choices, including those surrounding diet and wellness. While managing and solving these issues was important to REM, Russell saw the value in prevention. He wondered, “How do we create a company that isn’t constrained by people who are already in the healthcare system? We came up with the goal that we wanted to improve the lives of 10 million people in 10 years, which required technology that could scale and the ability to reach people who are wellness minded but not necessarily already inside the healthcare system.”

Russell’s goal of impacting people before they found themselves inside the healthcare system laid the foundation for EveryMove. In his words, “Through a number of iterations, we got inspired by the idea of putting control into the hands of the consumer to show that their healthy lifestyle has value.”

There are 200,000 registered users on EveryMove today and growing quickly. To help participants who are looking for the right wearable tracker for their individual needs, the company just launched their Fitness Tracker Device and Comparison Tool. As Russell describes, “We want to be seen as a champion on the forefront of healthcare tracking. We don’t know what works for you, but we can help you discover the perfect solution.”

Russell thinks that the timing is right for people to adopt a healthy, value based activity system. “We think that the convergence between healthcare change, wearables, and increased smartphone processing power is creating a nexus point of tremendous opportunity for us.” EveryMove isn’t betting on a single app or device. Even Russell wears and uses multiple devices (Moves App, Fitbit, Nike FuelBand, and Garmin on runs). Instead, EveryMove wants the wearables ecosystem to flourish. As a rewards plan for health, Russell wants users to feel that, “I am part of something that is much bigger than myself and by being a part of EveryMove, it says something about me and the control that I have over my health, and that is a really empowering feeling.”

Tagged , , , , , , , ,