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Behold, the heart-rate sensing LifeBeam Smart Hat (heads-on)

LifeBeam's heart-rate-sensing hat isn't such a dumb idea.

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Scott Stein
Scott_Stein.jpg

Scott Stein

Editor at Large

I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets.

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BARCELONA -- Smartphones, smartwatches, smart shirts, smart shoes, smart glasses, smart hats. Sure, why not?

The LifeBeam Smart Hat doesn't look all that exciting at first or even second glance: it kind of looks like a beach hat you'd wear around on a lazy Aruba vacation. And yet, under the brim, a heart-rate sensor sits, ready to rest against your forehead and collect heart-rate data. We tried one on here at Mobile World Congress 2015.

LifeBEAM Smart Hat appeals to your head and your heart

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The heart-rate sensor lurks just inside the brim. Sarah Tew/CNET

This ANT+- and Bluetooth LE-ready heart-rate hat doesn't use optical LED sensors as heart-rate wristbands do: it's meant to offer "aerospace-grade" heart-rate and calorie-counting data while running, biking or doing any exercise, powered by an ARM Cortex processor. And like a chest-worn heart-rate monitor, it can pair with any app or accessory that works with these types of external sensors.

Yep, it's a hat. Sarah Tew/CNET

A removable battery pack hides under Velcro near the back of the hat. The model I tried wasn't working, so I couldn't test it. So, real first impressions will have to wait till later.

I was told at my demo this was "coming soon," but it looks like LifeBeam has been selling these since late 2014. I never tried one on before. It's not my style. But the idea of a smart hat, if it's accurate, wouldn't be such a horrible idea.

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