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Gadgets

Nike+ FuelBand awards 'NikeFuel' for exercising

The Nike+ FuelBand is worn on the wrist, and awards you with 'NikeFuel' when you exercise.

Nike understands human psychology. It knows that if we were told to run around the park 10 times we'd complain loudly, eat a bag of crisps and then crawl under our desk and cry. But if we got to watch a meter move gradually from red to green as we ran, we'd be off around that park faster than you could say, "No wait -- you need to put trousers on first."

The chic Nike+ FuelBand straps around your wrist and measures your physical activity using accelerometers, with physical movement earning you 'NikeFuel'. You set a daily goal of how much exercise you want to do, and a strip of coloured LEDs along the wristband tracks your progress towards that goal, with lights moving from red to green.

The benefit is that any kind of exercise counts, from cycling to jumping up and down on the spot to chucking post-it aeroplanes at colleagues. The FuelBand tracks how many steps you've taken, as well as how many calories you've burned and how much NikeFuel you've earned. It also tells the time.

Nike Fuel

It connects to your computer via a built-in USB so you can track your performance, though if that's simply too archaic for you it will also communicate with a special iPhone app via Bluetooth. We imagine you'll need to connect it somehow to set an exercise goal, because it looks like there's only one button on the band itself.

It's not waterproof, so don't take it swimming, but Nike's website says it should be safe to wear in the shower, so unless you're a professional diver you never need take it off. We anticipate that over time the FuelBand will become your closest friend and most trusted advisor.

If you want to buy one of these, they'll be on sale in the UK from 1 May, for £139. And if you want to see it in motion, here's a link to an attractive, slightly annoying video.

Would one of these help you exercise? Or does the whole thing feel slightly menacing to you? Is it only a matter of time until our exercise wristbands are forcing us to work out, refusing to trigger the nutrition-chute until we've earned our daily amount of points? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

Similarly, Apple was recently awarded a 'Smart Garment' patent relating to its Nike+ iPod gadgetry, for high-tech clothes that could tell you when they needed replacing or how often they'd been used. Creepy.