Every year, we’re introduced to new technological advances with increasingly bold claims. Expect 2016 to be no different. For example, take the International Consumer Electronics Show, the annual event held in Las Vegas each January. The presence of health and fitness organisations at this show grows each year, such is the growing impact technology is having on the way we conduct our daily lives and fitness habits.
Among the many gadgets aimed at the health-conscious was the Quitbit, (www.quitbitlighter.com, around £90) an electronic smart lighter that keeps a tab (excuse the pun) on how many times a day you light up alongside the length of time between smokes. It goes without saying that like many electronic items at our disposal, the Quitbit syncs to an app via Bluetooth, which then stores the data behind your smoking habit. Why would you want this in your life, you ask? Well, it reveals the true nastiness of your habit, but also acts as a motivator by revealing how much money you’ve saved on a weekly/monthly/quarterly level, and gives you goals to hit.
Sounds smart, huh? So is the Ozmo smart cup (www.ozmo.io/pre-order, £40). Grokinglab’s creation transfers information about your water and coffeedrinking habits to an app, which then alerts you when it determines when you’re dehydrated. The Ozmo is clever, for it can decipher between when you’re drinking water and when your quaffing coffee. The idea is that you’re never dehydrated or over-caffeinated again, which is handy for those who either rely on a cup of Joe, or those who fail to hit their necessary daily water levels. The aim is to keep you energized, focused and your immune system boosted.
So, with your smoking habit kicked and your hydration sorted, it’s time to tackle your sleep. The bods at Sleep Number have created the It Bed (www.sleepnumber.com, prices vary), a mattress with a sleep monitor and ‘Sleep IQ technology’ that monitors your kip and provides a score based on personal biometrics. It also has a foam base that enables you to adjust the rigidity of the mattress to suit your personal preference.
Whether or not the It Bed is capable of getting rid of that bad back you’ve been carrying for months is another question. That’s where the Lumo Lift (www.lumobodytech. com, £55) comes in, a magnetic clip that vibrates every time you slouch. Lumo sensors detect when your torso is hunched, and the alerts are designed to help to improve your posture and develop better sitting habits. If you spend too much time slouching over your computer, this kick in the ass could be welcome.
With back sorted, what about your other sore extremities? Grab a Hyperice Vyper Foam Roller (http://hyperice. com/vyper.html, £140). As well as the wonderful benefits a foam roller can offer, the Vyper uses a three-speed vibrating motor that accentuates your warm-up, increases your circulation and reduces muscle stiffness after your workout. Not a bad way to upgrade your recovery time, flexibility or reduce your chance of injury.
If all of the above works, you might not need the promising MUSE headband (www.mindtecstore.com, £252). This brain trainer provides real-time feedback about how you’re performing under pressure, and it could help to lower stress levels, reduce your heart rate and even boost your mood. We’ll have one for deadline day, please!
he quest for suitable, tasty and healthy dietary supplements can be a long and winding road for many people. Perhaps not any more… The people at Cognizance Nutrition are attempting to harness the power of science and nature to create products that use only high quality, natural plant-derived ingredients and which deliver a whole host of health benefits.
Their Shape Shifter range, for example, has been tailored to promote safe and healthy weight loss. The ingredients effect your fat cells and induce thermogenesis triggers to increase your body’s temperature (to burn calories) and naturally suppress your appetite to negate the urge to snack between meals. ‘Side-effects’ include increased energy, immune support and improved mood and cognitive function. The Enhance range uses specific ingredients to stimulate lean, healthy muscle build through the natural increase of testosterone. The increase in testosterone levels produces improved athletic performance and immune boosts with the added benefit of faster muscle repair, so is equally as suitable for women as men. It also means increased sexual desire and function, and heightened fertility, so is also recommended as a natural treatment when trying to conceive. Prices start from £19.99 (visit www.cognizance-nutrition.com).
The clever bods at Which Whey? (www.whichwhey.co.uk, pictured left) are providing personalisation and convenience to the ever-growing supplement industry. They do this by offering monthly deliveries of ready-measured supplement servings from established providers, then allow customers to mix and match a wide variety of flavours. Why didn’t we think of that!
Their pouches provide an alternative to existing large, single-flavoured bags and tubs that have become commonplace in today’s market. In contrast, they offer subscriptions ranging from £14.99 to £24.99, plus a one-off package to trial (£19.99).
Fitness tech is only going to grow. You know it, we know it and the companies creating them know it. Don’t fight it! Among the newbies is the Skulpt Aim , which has recently launched in the UK and claims to be the first and only fitness device that accurately rates the quality of individual muscles and measures their fat percentage.
The brainchild of co-founder and Harvard Medical School Professor, Seward Rutkove, MD who was seeking better ways to measure muscle health, it helps users to achieve their fitness goals faster.
Unlike some other existing fitness trackers, which only measure calories or step counts, Skulpt Aim is a more accurate way to measure fitness and how weight loss is impacting your body. The device gives instant muscle readings when placed against moistened skin. It is also water resistant, and has 12 sensors that send a small current through the muscle to analyse the condition. It then sees the progress of individual muscles and analyses how they respond to exercise. This is the only product that accurately measures fat percentage instead of simply weight, and muscle quality instead of muscle mass. The Skulpt Aim is yours for £149.99 from Currys, Argos and the Skulpt website (www.skulpt.me/aim/).
Meanwhile, Fitbit are looking to consolidate their position in the wearables market with their latest offering, the Fitbit Blaze (www.fitbit.com, £159). Not quite a performance watch (it lacks a GPS) but more advanced than the Charge, it tracks more activities than other members of the Fitbit family. It uses optical heart rate sensors and takes a heart rate reading every five seconds to improve heart-rate accuracy.
Under Armour has also joined in the fun. They’ve teamed up with HTC to create a Healthbox (www.underarmour.co.uk/ en-gb), which includes a band to measure sleep, resting heart rate and activity; a scale that measure body weight and body fat percentage; and a heart rate monitor designed to offer accurate data during exercise sessions. The idea is that with this additional data, you’ll be able to train smarter than before.
Whatever wearable you choose, you would do worse than use them alongside a wearable Walkman. The Sony WS414 is run, swim and sweat proof, so fill your boots whatever your exercise. Three hours of charging equates to 12 hours of playback, so it should have your back for a week (depending on how long and how often you train for, obvs). Keep your eyes peeled at www.sony.co.uk for more info.
How many of you have bought a needless item of techfu*ckwittery you no longer use or even needed in the first place? Well, try again; the following items might actually be of use…
The Garmin Varia Vision (https://buy.garmin.com/en-GB/ GB/index.ep, £280) wearable sunglasses for cyclists strap onto your glasses and provide pertinent information, like directions and speed, on a mini display. Like some of the wrist wearables, it alerts you of calls, texts and emails.
You can also upgrade your helmet to the Livall Bling (www.livall.com), which has brake lights and turn signals alongside Bluetooth speaks, a microphone and G-Force sensors that transmit an alert to a pre-assigned contact in an emergency. Clever headwear all round.
If you want to upgrade your wardrobe, the OMsignal Biometric Shirt (www.omsignal.com) isn’t a bad place to start. The shirts contain a built-in fitness monitor that means you can exercise without any accessories at all. It has a slim data module that fits inside a range of skin-tight shirts capable of capturing your heart rate, breathing, steps and calories burnt. Of course, the module connects to your smart phone app, but it will also motivate you by giving you a gentle nudge when it feels you’re not working as hard as you should be (using the stats it records).
The same San Francisco startup, which consists of scientists, engineers and sports-bra designers, have also created the OMbra, dubbed the world’s first ‘smart bra’ (though for some people, they’re all smart, right?). The bra will be capable of measuring steps, heart rate and other biometric information, and it will sync with existing health and fitness apps to help track your progress. The creators claim the bra will be able to adapt to your body and workout… and this is the key; it’s not only functional, it’s comfortable. Made from stretchy fabric that enables a full range of movement, it has adjustable straps and closures.
Then there’s the Belty (www.wearbelty.com). Yep, there’ll soon be a go-go gadget-style belt that will use artificial intelligence and sensors in the buckle to track your activity. Belty uses algorithms to learn about your habits and environments. It will, for example, sense when you’re under-active, perhaps sitting down for too long at work or home, and give you a gentle vibrating nudge. The idea
is that the belt encourages you to move more each day. That can’t hurt, right.
Finally, keep an eye out for fellow startup Vollebak (www.vollebak.com) who are designing smart hoodies and jackets, including a ceramic-skinned jacket designed to protect you when you fall.
What will these clever cats think of next…