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Technology Tuesday-Healthy, Wearable Technology

I’ve got just 275 miles left before I reach the Nike+ Running Black Level. My Nikeplus.com account has logged an average distance of 4.5 miles in the 2,055 miles it’s recorded.  In over 452 logged runs I’ve achieved 209 Trophies & accomplished 105 personal goals.  Today I just accepted the Quadruple Threat Goal.  There is no way I will ever leave this product line.  I am a member of the wearable technology world.  My membership cost me the price of some cool hardware and has provided me years worth of this digital obsession.

I guess I should’ve saw it coming. As a boy, I had gloves that changed designs in the cold, color-changing shirts you’d press on, shoes I pumped up and once basked in nerd glory sporting the Casio illuminator Databank Watch. It’s not just me though.  Coworkers spoke fondly of their light up shoes, mood rings and my favorite response was from veteran Salesman Lawrence Stevens. When asked, he gazed into the light of the skylight above his cubicle and reminisced about happily roller skating whilst listening to the Bone Fone draped over his shoulders. It’s been a long time coming and the trend of wearable technology is about to graduate. There’s an onslaught of so much Hi-Tech wearable technology on its way.  We’ll all enjoy the topic as it will deeply affect our society.  There’s bound to be a very large scale reaction regarding safety, privacy and morals.  We’ll leave that discussion for when Google Glasses, GlassUP and whatever transparent optics INNOVEGA has up their sleeves are unleashed on the world.  Until then, we’re at least guaranteed to have a good laugh when we see people talking on their hi-Fun Talking Gloves.

For those of you on board with your fitness bands, you’d most likely agree:  Forgetting to wear your tech is like forgetting your wallet.  It’s oddly a painful situation to look down our wrist on the way to work and realize the band is sitting on a dresser.  Nike, FitBit, Jawbone and many other sport band companies have really taken wearable technology to the next level.  App integration, social competition and various internal technologies (with an icing of wearable technology addiction) has defined successful wearable sport technologies.

Despite my obvious connection to the Nike+ product line, I am interested in the competition. There are a lot of features lacking in the Nike+ Fuelband.  What fascinates me the most is when I talk to owners of other bands, they have it too. They have this bizarre obsession about some reason why the wristband they wear to count steps, calories burned…etc is all so very important to their daily life. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the top three things we’re wearing to be fit and enjoy technology.

1)       Nike Fuel Band $149

      1. Pros:  Nikeplus.com interface is AWESOME, LED display that shows you Time, Calories, Steps & Fuel with the press of a button, Bluetooth syncing to Nike+ App on iPhone, Ambient light sensor makes display brighter to see in bright light, built-in USB connection, USB charging
      2. Cons: Apple iOS Only – no Droids (sync it via PC), Doesn’t work as your Nike+ Running solution, Bulky compared to competition, Wearable Technology Addiction, 4 Day battery life, sweat & moisture can corrode your 8mm or 16mm links used to make it bigger (never take them off or you won’t get them back on!)

2)      Jawbone UP $129

      1. Pros: API (application programming interface) allows for 3rd party companies to make Apps that work with this product, Super slim design, Sleep Monitor capabilities are really cool, App for iOS and Android, Most extensive food diary, Sleep monitor including analysis of deep vs. light sleep & how many times you woke, vibrate wake, physical activity tracker, Jawbone UP community of fellow UP users ties into your App data to see your friends activity, 10 Day battery life
      2. Cons: No Bluetooth?!?! It’s Jawbone? (manually plug into your Smartphone’s headphone jack to sync), No LED display – must log into your App to see steps, calories, goals…Etc, Wearable Technology Addiction, no web interface – app only, proprietary charger

3)      FitBit Flex $99

      1. Pros: Bluetooth Syncing, large Fitbit user community, iPhone or Android App or Web interfaces, API (application programming interface) allows for 3rd party companies to make Apps that work with this product, fully adjustable instead of choosing a size, Color changeable, vibrate wake, App or Web interfaces, 5 LED indicator lights that shows you’re your goal progress, removable electronics
      2. Cons: only works with Bluetooth 4.0 devices, 5 day battery, Wearable Technology Addiction, proprietary charger, accuracy complaints (the FitBit One clip is supposed to be more accurate especially with stairs)

Bottom line:  If you’d like to join the wearable technology community, we’d love to have you.  We’ll link up, challenge each other, recommend a better pillow when we see your restless sleep and push you to take more steps every day.  You’ll have fun doing it and not have to do much besides wear a stylish piece of technology.  For those of you that are looking for something to work with your running, then I’d highly recommend using the Nike+ App on your iPhone or use the Nike+ SportWatch GPS.  I really enjoy using their interface and would say it’s absolutely the best.  Anyone else that just wants to join us all in the quest for better health should pick out a FitBit Flex, Jawbone UP or Nike+ Fuelband.  The best choice is to pick up what your friends all have.  The social element pushes you harder and is makes it great fun.

The Technologist

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