In this edition of Healthy Tech, we look at two Kickstarter projects that runners are going to be super interested in, as well as new shoes from Nike that take advantage of some fancy tech.
1. Syre Watch Case for iPod Nano Aims to Solve Huge Feature Deficit
A few months ago, I purchased an iPod Nano to wear as a wristwatch for running. I quickly went back to using my iPhone because I missed the GPS, and (more importantly) it seemed insane to me that Apple didn't think to put Bluetooth in the Nano to connect to your iPhone. For instance, let your phone use the GPS signal, but use your iPod for tracking everything else during your runs.
Luckily, the Lion Hound Technology "SYRE" on Kickstarter is finally solving that problem. The team is building Bluetooth into the watch case, which means you can finally use wireless headphones without an uncomfortable and unseemly adapter. "Despite being portrayed as the ultimate exercise companion, the iPod Nano requires that the user listen to music via wired headphones," reads the Kickstarter announcement. It continues: "This glaring oversight limits range of motion and creates an unnecessarily cumbersome experience "
In addition, Syre seals in the iPod Nano's data port. On my wrist watch, it's wide open, and while it's unlikely, it is possible for rain drops and other things to get in there.
With about 26 days to go, they've already hit $96,000 of the $75,000 goal, so it looks like this concept will see the light of day. You can learn more about Syre on Kickstarter.
2. Alpha, The World's First Strapless Heart Rate Monitor
Yep! We're looking at two Kickstarter projects this week.
This second one, known as Alpha, bills itself as "the world's first strapless, continuous heart rate monitor watch you can wear on your wrist" that lets you run up to speeds of 12 mph.
I'll be posting a piece on heart rate monitors here on DVICE, and what I learned in reviewing them and talking to experts in the industry, is that for an accurate reading, you have to wear them under your chest with a strap. Alpha, however, claims to get an accurate heart rate from its device, which is worn on the wrist.
Alpha even boasts that it's accurate at performance running speeds greater than 12 mph, but have had trouble finding subjects who run that fast.
Here's how it works. According to the Kickstarter project page, it "uses electro-optical technology to sense the heartbeat" by looking at the volume of blood under your skin. "Because the blood volume pulsates in the rhythm of the heart, so does the signal from the electro-optical cell." That signal gets processed by Alpha, and while most heart rate monitors worn on the wrist have trouble interpreting that signal because of arm movements while walking and running, Alpha also has a separate motion detector "to compensate for the disturbance that is generated in the electro-optical signal." And that's how you get the accurate result.
Alpha also uses Ant+ and BT 4.0 so it'll sync up with your iPhone, Android, etc., assuming you've got apps that will be able to take the data. (There aren't any yet, but that could change if Alpha proves popular. I could see Runkeeper, which is pretty much the defacto running app on iOS, wanting to allow their app to talk to Alpha.)
With about 30 days to go, they've reached $117,879 of their $100,000 goal. You can pledge now for as little as $149 — which you may want to do, because the unit will eventually retail for $249.
3. Nike Announces Two Shoes with Nike+ Inside
The Nike+ freight train rolls on. Nike has announced new shoes with a built-in Nike+ Sport Sensor for both basketball and training. The shoes will track your movement and wirelessly send that data to a Nike+ Basketball or Nike+ Training app on your phone.
For instance, the Nike+ Basketball app will deliver data on "how high, how hard and how quick" you play each game, while the Nike+ Training app will feature "a series of short, sharp workouts, designed to help users get fitter, faster and stronger." As you perform the drill, the Nike+ Training app will monitor to see how well you did.
All the shoes will feature the Nike+ Pressure Sensor to track the wearer's movements, as well as "lightweight Flywire construction and Lunarlon cushioning." According to Engadget, transferring the data via your shoes to the apps is free if you have an iPhone 4S; if not, you'll need the $20 Nike+ Sport adapter.
About Healthy Tech
This is the Healthy Tech Weekly, where guest columnist Alan Danzis reports on choice healthy technology news stories. Each week you'll discover new fitness gadgets, apps and going-ons, as well as what's around the corner, with medical innovations that will one day change the way you monitor and impact your overall health and well-being.