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Basis Band monitor lets you follow your heart

Due out in the spring for $199, the continuous heart rate monitor is disguised as a watch.

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is based in Portland, Oregon, and has written for Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, and public radio. Her semi-obscure hobbies include climbing, billiards, board games that take up a lot of space, and piano.
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
2 min read
CES Video
Watch this: The Basis Band is a fitness tracker

LAS VEGAS--If you've been pining for a continuous heart rate monitor that doesn't strap onto (and continually pinch or slide down) your chest, the new company Basis Science may have just the solution for you, and it doubles as a sleek little watch.

The Basis Band is due out this spring for $199. Basis Science

The Basis Band, one of this year's dozen or so CES Health and Wellness Innovations Awards honorees, is equipped with multiple sensors that track not only heart rate (using optical blood flow sensors) but also activity level (via 3D accelerometer), calories burned, and temperature and galvanic skin response.

The water-resistant black or white band is meant to be worn around-the-clock for uninterrupted monitoring, and comes with a USB charger whose cable is long enough to allow for considerable movement during the one-hour charge for those who really don't want to take it off.

The prototype bands on display at CES aren't yet wireless, so plugging them in is also required for transferring the data to an online dashboard that shows heart rate fluctuations, activity levels, and sleep patterns in handy little charts.

The online dashboard rewards points for steps taken and hours slept. Basis Science

The point system may be a bit underdeveloped, rewarding the wearer for reaching certain milestones with gold stars (the team could take a few pointers from the Striiv fitness tracker in this arena), but Basis reps say the dashboard is a work in progress.

As with so many of these activity trackers, the target audience is not the athlete already getting enough exercise but rather the masses who may need a little motivation to uphold those New Year's resolutions beyond the month of January.

Still, it remains to be seen how knowing one's heart rate, steps taken, calories burned, and hours slept will turn couch potatoes into fitness movers and shakers. The data will have to be presented in meaningful contexts that spur further moving and shaking, something gold stars alone aren't likely to do.

Due out in the spring, Basis is now available for preorder. Retail price: $199.