Spring has sprung and that means summer is right around the corner. If you still haven't worked off those extra winter pounds, it's high time to start before swimsuit and tank top weather cruelly arrives. Luckily, there are new mobile accessories that harness wireless technology, competitive behavior, social media, and other online tools to help couch potatoes catch the exercise bug.… Read more
Bluetooth, once trumpeted as the ultimate convenience, quickly proved a headache with plenty of pairing problems and inexplicable connection snafus. Bluetooth 4.0, the newest version of the technology, is about to change all that. … Read more
Fitbit, a maker of a digital health and fitness devices, announced today it has raised $12 million in Series C funding.
The round of funding, which will be used to fund growth, was led by existing partners Foundry Group, True Ventures, SoftTech VC, and Felicis Ventures.
"This funding will help us accelerate the hiring of the best hardware and software engineers, designers, product managers and marketers," Fitbit CEO and co-founder James Park said in a statement. "This is the perfect time for passionate and smart people to join us as we create devices and services that improve … Read more
The Aria has competition in the "smart" scale department, with the Withings booth and its very similar scales for adults and yes, even babies, just a few yards away.
But Fitbit has introduced a multiple-user feature that recognizes--out of as many as eight different users--who is standing on the scale. Think large households, dorm quads, sports teams, etc.
Priced at $129.99, Fitbit's first Wi-Fi scale can tally weight, body fat, and body mass index, and automatically uploads that info with every step on the scale to an online tool with graphs that perhaps too-handily track one's progress (or lack thereof). The online and mobile tools are free and also include weight goals and a food and exercise log.… Read more
The Fitbit electronic pedometer is for people taking baby steps into a fitness.
Since launching the company at a 2008 TechCrunch event, founder James Park says, he has discovered that while Nike and Garmin sell their fitness monitoring products to health and activity nuts, the Fitbit has ended up winning market share with the broad middle of the population, so to speak. "We don't have a very athletic user base," Park says.
The new $99 Fitbit Ultra, launching today, is much the same as the previous product, with one key hardware difference: it has a pressure altimeter, so it can determine when you're climbing stairs (or, in my town, hills).
This is a key metric to track for those trying to improve fitness by walking around, and Park hopes that the Fitbit Ultra will encourage people to climb the equivalent of 10 flights of stairs a day as they're racking up their standard 10,000 steps. The device also measures sleep quality.… Read more
Some people are simply obsessed with monitoring every part of their lives. I don't know if it's sheer ego or sheer paranoia.
But when trackers like Fitbit come along, they tap into this need like Justin Bieber taps into the need for little girls to have boyfriends with hair like theirs.
Fitbit is a fitness tracker that enables people to log all of their moods and calorie intakes and usages. However, it seems to have one characteristic that will be entertaining for some and perplexing for others: it seems to let the world know, among other things, when … Read more
Philips' DirectLife fitness tracker, which monitors one's daily activity levels by tracking the duration and intensity of movements, has been doing so well since its release in October 2009, according to a company representative, that it is about to be released in Germany and the U.K. Moreover, Philips has just announced a companion gadget that might actually rival the iPod.
The "program" associated with DirectLife, which costs $99, plus a $12.50 monthly membership fee, is three-pronged: wear the small, waterproof monitor with 3D accelerometer technology (think Wii) to track your movements; go online to get … Read more
For the past week I've been inseparable from a small bit of black plastic hooked onto my left pocket. It's not a cell phone, or a security card for work. Instead, it's the Fitbit, a high-tech pedometer with a neat trick--it tracks your daily and nightly activities, then sends that information to the cloud wirelessly.
The $99 device was first unveiled at last year's TechCrunch50 show in San Francisco, but the company only began shipping out its first pre-orders last week. I've spent the past seven days using it to track my daily activity levels, as well as my sleeping and eating habits.
Unsurprisingly, it hasn't moved me to make a dramatic shift in the way I live my life, but it has given me a benchmark of how active or inactive I am on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. In other words, you can be a non-gym rat and still get a multitude of uses out of this, but it will always be more beneficial for highly active people.The hardware
The Fitbit itself is a clip, and almost symmetrical except for a button on one of the sides. This is the only button on the entire device that controls what you see on its small, but very readable OLED display. Each time you click it, it cycles through how many steps you've taken, how far you've gone in miles, how many calories you've burned, as well as your current activity level which is displayed as a flower; the taller it is, the more active you've been.
Compared with some other pedometers from companies like Omron, Sportline, and Apex Fitness, many of which feature onboard clocks, stopwatches, and "trip" meters, this may seem a bit anemic. But there's more than meets the eye. The device tracks things like duration of activity, and what time of day you're doing it--two things that can be seen back on Fitbit's site once it syncs up.
The Fitbit can be stashed in your pocket, on your belt, or anything else you can clip it on. (Fitbit's product manual mentions something about bras--I didn't get to try that out.) It then uses a three-dimensional motion sensor--like what's inside of Nintendo's Wii remote--to track your movements.
Besides tracking steps, caloric burn, and distance, the Fitbit can be used to monitor sleep duration and habits. This requires users sliding the Fitbit into the included cloth wrist wrap, then holding the Fibit's one button for a few seconds before going to bed, and then again when they wake up.
I found this an easy habit to pick up and build into my normal routine, though worth noting is that the included strap's velcro is basically glued on, and can be accidentally removed quite easily. I also had one night of sleep where the device came out of the strap, forcing me to fish it out of the bed the next morning.
Once you've held the button for a few seconds to start the sleep cycle, the device then waits for you to stop moving to begin its count. It also keeps track of any movements during the night, like if you sleepwalk, start waving your arms around, or get up to go to the bathroom. This information is tracked on Fitbit's site, including how "efficient" your sleep was, which is a percentage of how much time you spent sleeping versus how long it took you to go to bed and how many times you became "active."Software and Webware
While the Fitbit can be used as a pedometer in the traditional sense, installing software on your computer lets you sync it up with Fitbit's site. To do this you have to make use of a special base station which comes with the Fitbit, and is the only way to both charge it, and check its battery level (which is rated at 10 days between charges).… Read more
Amount of steps you took today: 3,451. Miles traveled: 1.4. Calories burned: 348. Calories consumed: 625. Then you went to bed at 12:05 a.m. Time to fall asleep: 23 minutes. Times awakened: 25. You were in bed for 8 hours 2 minutes. Actual sleep time: 7 hours 42 minutes.
The math is easy, sure. But never before has a device tracked so many aspects of an individual's physical movements to measure overall wellness. From caloric intake to activity levels (sedentary, lightly active, fairly active, and very active), Fitbit clips onto clothing or straps around one'… Read more