For when you wanna be “That Guy”

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Withings Activité: A step in the right direction for wearables

I’m a big fan of wearables. HUGE fan actually. So naturally, I have high expectations. My criteria for the success of a wearable is:

IF IT WASN’T ELECTRONIC, WOULD YOU STILL WANT TO WEAR IT?

Not many have passed this test. The Withings Activité passes with flying colors.

(Now, when I say that I mean for a man– a man should totally wear this. The form factor is still a bit big for my wrist, but for lack of alternatives, I’d sure love the brown one. )

So why is it a “wearable?” It looks just like a watch. Well, it’s actually a watch. And a fitness tracker. The tiny blue hand is a gauge from 0 – 100 percent that tracks your step and sleep goals each day.

SUBTLE. SIMPLE. ELEGANT.

It syncs with your phone and gives you all the internet-tracker goodies of all the other bands.

I’m so excited about the integration of personal data into our lives in a beautiful way. Not only does this product eco my graduate thesis, but it’s truly something that I want for all technology that is worn or brought into our homes.

Now go make more designs, Withings! Us ladies have a lot of outfits to match!

nonnaTech : Sensor based senior surveillance for “Aging at Home”

This product utilizes ubiquitous sensors – literally all over the home – to act as an alternative to senior care. For example, a sensor placed in the bed alerts a loved one when the senior is sleeping abnormally.

Part invasive, part telling. This is a system that must require a serious talk with the person whom it is for, and trial to see if the system could actually help them. (Are seniors really THAT habitual?) I did enjoy their only active sensor – the Nonna button (I worked on a similar project called The Done Button) because it gave the senior a sense of control over the system, small as it may be.

Pulse On Heart Rate Monitor: Looks Pretty Comfy

The thing about a heart rate monitor, especially on the wrist, is that it has to make good contact with your skin – no dangly bangle bracelets allowed. The thing I like about this new product is the design of the band. It’s comfy, and that means you’ll wear it. This one is for in-workout stats, and suggests warm-up / cool down times as well as recording workout intensity.

Battle of the “Bands” – Health Tracker Competition

In the “Battle of the Bands” competition, contestants had 5 min to convince the audience that their fitness product was superior. Here’s a quick summary:

Wellograph
A very nice and very capable health watch, they care more about the everyday person than the avid gym goer. It’s the fitness watch for the fit and unfit alike. I had the chance to play with one at CES in january and was pleased with the quality, however a bit large for my small wrist.

GOQii
An ecosystem rather than just a band, GOQii is a service that pairs you with an online personal trainer who gives you advice about healthy habits based on your use of the GOQii wearable band. The band comes free with a service subscription. The audience was skeptical of the abilities of the company to pair each customer with an appropriate and well certified trainer. If the company manages a high level of quality, this may be a way to help consumers to keep using wearables!

Skulpt
Skulpt identifies muscle quality which is a better indicator of fitness than tracking weight. It’s a portable connected device that brings this type of experience home (or to your gym bag).

Healbe GoBe
These guys claim they can sense calorie intake (yes, I said calorie INTAKE) with their fitness band. A pleasantly playful presentation and a clear message of abilities, this seems to be revolutionary. But could it work?

Healbe won by a landslide for a professional and entertaining presentation. I’m skeptical of it’s accuracy, but I made sure to take a selfie with presenter Georgy because I’m so hopeful for it’s success.