Fitbit introduces a flexible wristband

There's a mountain of new devices being introduced at CES in Vegas this week and it looks like Fitbit is launching a new flexible wristband called Flex activity tracker. Gizmodo just got a few minutes with them to see it in action. Here's what they say about what they saw: "From the look of it, they've basically just reengineered the One, made it smaller, taken out the altimeter and shoved it into a wristband. Double tap the band and a stream of five tiny LEDs notify you of how many goals you've reached for the day. So if you've only hit two of your five goals, then only two LEDs will light up. The band itself seems a bit chintzy but is infinitely adjustable for any size wrist."

Continue reading at Gizmodo. Image source.

A new fitness tracking device

Move over Fitbit and Jawbone Up, Amiigo is a new kid on the block (in addition to the newly anticipated Misfit Shine) that is promising to help improve your health by tracking and measuring what matters. What's different about this from the accumulating pile of fitness devices on the market today? The device includes a wristband and shoe clip that work together. You can attach the shoe clip to the wristband, or remove it and attach it to your shoe. It's also waterproof so that you can use it while swimming.

It also appears that the experience includes gaming, which is an untapped area for fitness that I'd like to see more of. I'm eager to try it out when it hits the shelves.

More info at Amiigo.

Will a second chance work for UP?

The Jawbone UP was a hugely anticipated new wearable technology product for life tracking that was announced in 2011 at TED and brought to the market shortly after. Unfortunately, due to malfunctioning hardware, UP's big debut was a major disaster and was pulled from the shelves after just one month. The product only worked for the first few hours until the battery died. Recharging it did nothing. So, with an empty wallet and time spent learning the app, you were left with nothing but another pretty wristband to add to your collection. It was a product manager's and customer service nightmare. In fact, a colleague of mine had 4 sent to him while we were testing the product that all died  after only about 8 hours of use. We kept wondering why they would send the same malfunctioning product without fixing it. Well, it looks like they finally did. Now the question is will the market give UP a second chance?

Signs point to yes. Why? For one, Jawbone has put significant investment into improving their second generation UP product through 3 Million hours of user testing and is publicizing their dedication to learning their lesson and fixing the problem. Hopefully, this will be enough to improve people's perception of the brand and reignite market interest. It's worth paying attention to. Second, the product has the making for a compelling experience by following the 4 principles toward successful wearable technology experiences:

Up is...

  1. Contextual : It understands the audience, what we need to improve our lives, and how to integrate into our lifestyle rather than making us change to use it.
  2. Discreet : It pushes the technology to the background so it’s non-disruptive and ambient. You don't see wires or screens. It works for you in the background.
  3. Connected : It connects to software and services that bring more value to the experience.
  4. Fashionable : It removes the geek-factor and looks like something you would want to wear rather than have to wear.

UP's new challenge? It has to work flawlessly. Now, I'm off to order mine to find out...


Jawbone UP is a wearable band, which is infused with sensors and a connected smartphone, allowing you to track your eating, sleeping, and activity patterns. Together, the combination of a sensor-infused wristband and a smartphone app will provide nudges for healthier living, based on your behavior. Click here for more info on UP, or watch the video featuring designer Yves Béhar on his journey creating UP (note that there is absolutely no mention of the initial failure...hmmmmm....)

Image source from Fastcompany.

Wearable bio-metric accessories for health

There are a number of bio-metric accessories for health that are hitting the market these days. The accessories read and collect a variety of different types of bio-metric data (such as your heart rate, movement, and body heat), connect to your smartphone, and visualize the data through an application that helps you make sense of the data and keeps you on track toward better health. Spawned by successful products such as Nike+, cheaper components, and the Quantified Self movement, here are a just a couple that are making the rounds...  

Zeo Sleep Manager

Zeo Sleep Manager is a wearable accessory and smartphone app that tracks and improves the quality of your sleep. The headband tracks your actual sleep stages through the night and how much restorative REM and Deep sleep you actually get. It then sends them wirelessly to the bedside display and your phone where it shows you how you slept, including how much time you spent in REM and Deep sleep, which are critical for mental clarity, physical well-being and peak performance. Zeo also gives you an overall sleep score you can track over time.

An interesting idea, however, I have just one question for you there really no other solution than to make me strap hardware to my forehead while I sleep? From a wearability perspective, this could be very uncomfortable for those who might toss and turn and simply unsexy.

Jawbone Up

Jawbone Up is flexible smart wristband and smartphone app that work together to help you live healthier. However, it's plagued with a nightmare's worth of hardware and battery problems for their v1 product. (A friend of mine is on his 4th band within just 1 month. Yikes!) But once they iron out the kinks, this accessory and experience has potential to be a great addition to a health-oriented lifestyle.  


LUMOback is an exciting new product that is getting ready to hit the market in 2012. The experience includes a thin, flexible and wireless sensor adhesives that you put on your skin. These LUMOback sensors monitor and measure your posture in real-time. When you are slouching, it sends you small gentle vibrations to your lower back reminding you to sit up nice and straight on your iPhone.

Overall, we're seeing more sensor accessories + mobile app-based experiences focused on health and lifestyle. It will be interesting to see how they do on the market and how long they will last.