Health 2.0 Monitoring Devices, Part I: 12 Personal Devices for Your Digital Health Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is hard to achieve without accountability, and what better way to hold yourself accountable than with the latest, greatest, wifi and social-enabled gadgetry on the market? Here, fellow copywriter Erica and I break down 12 products—ranging from full wellness to just sleep—that offer super slick devices with corresponding, user-friendly management programs.
Complete Health & Wellness
FitBit is the ultimate health and wellness monitoring system. It’s comprehensive, cohesive, and affordable. A wifi-enabled scale tracks weight, body fat percentage, and BMI, and a personal monitoring device tracks everyday steps, stairs climbed, calories burned, heart rate, and sleeping habits. Both transmit data to a personalized dashboard, accessible online and through a mobile app, where you can track meals, workouts, and share with friends on social media sites. Mind blown yet? Well, throw in a yearly membership fee and you can also get in-depth analytical reporting, personal training, peer rankings, and detailed tracking capabilities.
Jawbone UP is FitBit minus the scale, and instead of a USB-shaped clip-on monitoring device, the UP device is an inconspicuous, sleek bracelet. Me rambling on in prose about Jawbone UP is a complete disservice to their marketing. Check out their introductory video, which summarizes UP in very pretty nutshell.
Withings offers a wifi-enabled scale that tracks weight, body fat and muscle percentages, and BMI, and then streams that data to a user dashboard or mobile app. However, unlike Jawbone UP and FitBit, Withings does not feature a health monitoring device. While it lacks that super-cool, constantly monitoring gadget, the scale and dashboard do boast impressive sharing capabilities. Users can share their health data and reporting with their coach, doctor, and social sites. Additionally, multiple members, for instance the whole family, can reside on one dashboard account.
First there were pedometers, then monitoring bands, and now complete on-the-go, personalized, shareable exercise programs. While Nike has built an entire brand and science around their Fuel Bands, Striiv has gamified walking, enabling users to race with each other on social sites, win and share badges, and complete personal challenges based on activity level, all via a “smart” pedometer. Meanwhile, long-time heart monitoring, fitness gurus Polar have smartened their monitors and incorporated personalized management apps and online dashboards.
But two brands that have truly poured the “wow” factor into their exercise monitoring devices are PearSport and MOTOACTV. Both combine MP3 players with fitness monitoring devices; both are social with user dashboards and apps; both feature GPS. However, Pear boasts real-time audio coaching, while MOTOACTV creates playlists based on the songs that make the user work hardest. Check out both their intro videos below.
So there are overall health and wellness devices as well as fitness monitoring devices. But what about cardiovascular monitoring devices? And no, I don’t mean a chest strap. The following two devices go way beyond that.
There’s Tinke, who deserves their own blog post just on the brilliance of user-interface design. Seriously. Go to their website and click “take the tour.”
Still in beta testing, Tinke is a small, fashionable device that measures heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood-oxygen level, all with the simple press of your thumb. These three measurements provide your Vita Index, or cardiovascular wellness score. There’s no battery or bulk. Simply plug the device into your iPhone to update all your stats. You can also share your Vita Index and progress with friends.
Also still in Beta testing, MyBasis has a bit more going on than Tinke. This device might look like a stylish 2.0 watch (yes, you can switch out bands), but it’s actually a device that tracks heart beats, activity, temperature, and environment to paint a useful picture of your cardiovascular health. Plug MyBasis into your computer and view data, monitor your health trends, and share with friends. An app and bluetooth-enabled data transmission are both coming soon, which means MyBasis might soon compete with the likes of Jawbone UP.
According to BodyMedia, a Pittsburgh-based company, there are three simple pieces to the weight loss puzzle: calories consumed, calories burned, and sleep efficiency. Balance these three with the help of the CORE and LINK armbands, and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your health goals. But it’s more than just tracking steps, the BodyMedia FIT tests galvanic skin response, skin temperature, heat flux, and motion. What you won’t find in this device is a heart rate sensor, however. And that’s OK, because BodyMedia says that including it didn’t significantly increase their accuracy, but it did add to the size and cost of the device.
LARK, developed with the help of sleep experts and a pro sports sleep coach, helps users seize their sleep potential leading to a healthier, happier life. This iOS-compatible product (yup, that means it’s only available for Macs) is comprised of a mobile app, a web component, and a wristband (referred to lovingly as wrist pajamas).
Here’s the three key features that make LARK tick:
- The wristband silent alarm, with patent-pending soothing vibrations, wakes you gently, without disturbing your partner.
- The wristband sleep tracker uses an actigraphy microsensor to detect unique sleeping patterns--like how well and long you sleep, how long it takes you to fall asleep, and how often you rouse from your slumber--and transmit the information automatically to your phone.
- Meet your Personal Sleep Coach. After seven days of sleeping with LARK, your Personal Sleep Coach will unveil your sleep type and a sleep-type-specific action plan to help you reach your sweet sleep goals—nighty, night.
See the features in action in the video below:
So what’s next on the health 2.0 horizon? Perhaps it’ll be the “smart toilet” making its way over from Japan or the European edible health monitoring microchip. Whatever it is, we’ll have our finger to the #mHealth pulse, so be sure to stay tuned to our blog!
What do you think of health 2.0? Do you recommend or use any personal health monitoring devices?