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Our sister site Connected Health has been exploring the fascinating world of health and fitness tech over the past year and we've seen some great sport gadgets and accessories that really can make a difference to your training (check out our gift guide for fitness and sports gifts).

Today we've collected together some of our favourite health and wellbeing tech products from the past year that we think would make great presents this Christmas, including wake-up lights to lift your mood, gadgets that monitor your sleep and a pair of Wi-Fi scales.

Related: CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: The 10 best fitness gadgets, apps & accessories

tinke-health-gadget.jpgThe health and fitness tech market is growing rapidly, from wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit to more obscure medical gadgets that could have a big impact on those living with disabilities.

Each week we'll be bringing you a round-up of the best from Connected Health, our sister site that's dedicated to the world of health tech, fitness gadgets and awesome apps:

MappyHealth analyses Twitter data for health trends

Admittedly we spend far too much time tweeting about absolute rubbish on Twitter, but data mining company MappyHealth hopes to weed through the useless stuff and find out important information about health trends across the globe.

Nike+ Accelerator launches to drive digital fitness innovations

Nike is taking its commitment to digital health and fitness tracking a step further by launching an accelerator programme to encourage developers and fledgling companies to make awesome products and services using the Nike+ platform.

Google Now app gets a pedometer: The first step in Google's fitness tracking mission?

The Google Now application now has a way of tracking miles that have been walked and cycled, which may seem a bit "so what" to those without an Android phone, but could well be Google's first step into the world of mobile health and fitness tracking.

Tinke: The next must-have gadget in health and wellness tracking?

So we've seen a range of health and fitness tracking gadgets launch this year, but Tinke is set to become big in 2013 because it's not bothered about the steps you've taken or other trivial data like that, it wants to know your heart is performing well and it wants to allow you to find out in the simplest of ways.

Tactio's apps help teens lose weight and get fit

Health app company Tactio are producing a lot of products to track weight, BMI and other health metrics, but we're particularly interested in its niche products aimed at teens.

Over the past year the worlds of fitness and tech have merged to bring us some great gadgets, apps and workout accessories that really can make a difference to your training, enabling you to perform better, achieve more and just generally become more fit and awesome.

We've collected together some of our favourite fitness tech products from the past year with the help of our sister site, Connected Health, that we think would make great presents this Christmas whether you're buying for a fitness fanatic or someone who's been reluctant to get out the door and work up a sweat.

re-tiner-gadget-copy-949x1024.jpgThe health and fitness tech market is growing rapidly, from wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit to more obscure medical gadgets that could have a big impact on those living with disabilities.

Each week we'll be bringing you a round-up of the best from Connected Health, our sister site that's dedicated to the world of health tech, fitness gadgets and awesome apps:

New glasses stop jet-lag and reset your body clock

The Re-Timer is a lightweight gadget that uses its magic to "reset" your body clock with some carefully selected lighting effects.

Your car could soon be equipped to take your pulse

According to The Wall Street Journal this week, a number of large car manufacturers are working on ways to work biometric sensors into their vehicles to keep tabs on drivers' heart rates, breathing patterns and much more.

Heart rate monitor sock keeps an eye on your baby's breathing

Researchers in the US have developed a tracking device that straps to a baby's foot and ensures they're still breathing while they sleep.

MyHealthTeams creates social networks for those with chronic conditions

MyHealthTeams is working on building bespoke social networks for those living with chronic conditions and for loved ones to chat to those in similar situations.

Scanadu Scout is a real life sci-fi medical scanning device

Just like a gadget from a sci-fi movie, the Scanadu Scout reads all of your vital signs then sends the data directly to your mobile phone for analysis and safe keeping.

fitbug-air-big.jpegThe health and fitness tech market is growing rapidly, from wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit to more obscure medical gadgets that could have a big impact on those living with disabilities.

Each week we'll be bringing you a round-up of the best from Connected Health, our sister site that's dedicated to the world of health tech, fitness gadgets and awesome apps:

The Fitbug Air is another new Bluetooth self-tracking gadget

A new self-tracking device called the Fitbug Air has launched this month, which monitors the steps you take, the calories you burn and the distance you cover. Yep it sounds the same as every other Fuelband or Fitbit or Up bracelet out there, but its practical design and wireless syncing means it could prove to be a real contender in this space.

LightSleeper will project soothing lights onto your ceiling to lull you to sleep

Most light gadgets are designed to wake you up with a fake sunrise or simulate bright sunshine during the day, but this one hypnotises you into dozing off.

RunKeeper's Android app gets an update: Leaderboards, Facebook, in-app messaging

Runkeeper's popular Android app has had an upgrade this week bringing it up to speed with the iOS version with features like deeper Facebook integration and leaderboards.

Wahoo takes on Withings, launches Bluetooth scale

Wahoo has recently launched the Wahoo Balance, a Bluetooth scale that's set to give Withings' offerings a run for their money.

Eye implant allows the blind to see Braille on their retinas

Researchers in the US have been working on a new way to help blind people read Braille that sounds like it's straight out of a sci-fi movie, by streaming it directly to their retinas.

the-shine-pebble1.jpegThe health and fitness tech market is growing rapidly, from wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit to more obscure medical gadgets that could have a big impact on those living with disabilities.

Each week we'll be bringing you a round-up of the best from Connected Health, our sister site that's dedicated to the world of health tech, fitness gadgets and awesome apps:

Will implantable health gadgets be big in 2013?

We've all become accustomed to health gadgets that hook onto our belt loops, sit in our pockets or strap onto our arms, but could gadgets that are implanted into our bodies be the next big health tech trend of 2013? Well if US-based company IntraPace has its way, gadgets that are implanted into user's digestive systems in order to stop them feeling hungry are going to be the next big thing. Ouch.

Will Jawbone's new Up bracelet fitness gadget be a success this time?

Jawbone is back with its Up bracelet, which may have failed on epic proportions when it was first released but all of the kinks have been ironed out (hopefully) and it's set to take on the likes of Nike's FuelBand or Fitbit's One. The challenge now is whether other brands have already overtaken Jawbone in this space and whether the bad press from the last version of the gadget will mean it's already doomed before people even get to try it.

Shine: A self-tracking gadget that's as cute as a button

Self-tracking devices may be advancing, but they still look a bit rubbish and out of place strapped to our arms, belt buckles and bras, right? Well, enter the Shine. Yep it looks like a watch battery or a teeny tiny spaceship, but the gadget created by Misfit Wearables aims to give users a great self-tracking experience in a cute package.

BetterFit Text is a super simple health texting service

Advances in mobile health don't have to be over-complicated, company BetterFit has been working on a way to make communications between doctors and patients much easier. The new system asks users questions in text messages and once they reply it determines the next steps.

Jeremy Hunt says UK can be "world leader" in health tech

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed a plan of health tech objectives and goals for the next few years, which included providing patients with more tools to take charge of their health, like the ability to book appointments, look at test results, order repeat prescriptions and even access past records online or via mobile.


There are so many different fitness apps and gadgets on the market at the moment that we're starting to get a bit sick and tired of tracking our steps, calories, snoozes, thoughts, breathing patterns... WE CAN'T HANDLE THE PRESSURE ANYMORE, OK? However, one of the first pioneers in this whole health tracking tech space was Jawbone's Up bracelet, a wearable gadget that hugged your wrist all day long with a lot of promising features designed to help you track your activity levels and a lot LOT more without any stress or hassle. Sounds great, right? Well it was until it failed in rather epic proportions, in terms of hardware, software AND usability. There was a battlefield of dead little Up bracelets across the world who were drowned by water and had their fragile bodies snapped in two. Horrific.

But you know what? What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and all that and the team still had some pretty innovative ideas, so they haven't admitted defeat and instead just re-launched a new version of the Up. As you'd expect they've addressed all of the issues that made the last gadget a big failure and now hope to really make waves amongst all of the Fitbit Ones and Nike+ Fuelbands that we have attached to our bodies somewhere or other.

The new band, which has been released in the US this week for $129, has had a slew of improvements including a new design and outer mould, more water resistance and a better accompanying iOS application. Engadget reports that, in order to address all of the gadget's previous problems, it's also been put through a new rigorous form of testing, ensuring it'll really stand up to claims this time and not bend, snap or become ruined by a bit of a water.

However, it's not just the external hardware that's had a makeover, the dedicated iOS app (no Android version yet unfortunately, but it's apparently on the way, apparently) has had a new lick of paint too, which sees a better looking and more user-friendly interface and added social sharing features, as well as a food calorie index and a few more extras, like barcode scanning so you don't have to muck around adding meals manually.

There are still one or two things we think may cause problems, for instance, in order to sync data you have to hook the bracelet up by the 3.5mm jack, which makes it usable by a wide range of people but with Fitbit's gadgets now syncing wirelessly via Bluetooth it'll certainly seem a bit outdated over the next year if it doesn't step up to the game. After all these kinds of gadgets are all about being as easy to wear and use as possible and wireless syncing just takes all of the hassle away from the whole process.

However, Jawbone's latest foray into the health and fitness tracking market is certainly interesting and no one can deny the product will have been put through some of the most rigorous testing, like, EVER. The challenge now is whether other brands have already overtaken Jawbone in this space and whether the bad press from the last version of the gadget will mean it's already doomed before people even get to try it. But we're willing to forgive and forget and have high hopes for Jawbone's latest product, even if the rest of the world is just waiting for it to fail again.

For more information or to find out where you can buy an Up bracelet in your country, visit the Jawbone website.

[Via Connected Health Store]

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The health and fitness tech market is growing rapidly, from wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit to more obscure medical gadgets that could have a big impact on those living with disabilities.

Each week we'll be bringing you a round-up of the best from Connected Health, our sister site that's dedicated to the world of health tech, fitness gadgets and awesome apps:

mor.sl recommends healthy recipes that you'll love

mor.sl is a cool new website, which tailors recipe searches to you, so you can find the healthiest meals that suit your experience, budget and cooking preparation time.

Withings launches its next generation of internet connected scales

This week Withings launched its next generation of internet-connected bathroom scales, called the Wireless Scale WS-30. The new scale hasn't been designed to replace the company's original flagship device, the original WBS01 scale, but it does allow you to sync up your data to the Withings dashboard automatically, even without wifi.

Bandu: the wrist watch that tells you when to relax

A group of neuroscientists from MIT have created a prototype wrist watch, which measures how stress affects the body and monitors people's autonomic nervous system to alert them when they're freaking out.

Runtastic launches four new fitness apps

Sport and fitness app and online service Runtastic has introduced four new apps into its ecosystem, which challenge users to beat physical challenges.


lark-life-gadget.jpg

The health and fitness tech market is growing rapidly, from wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit to more obscure medical gadgets that could have a big impact on those living with disabilities.

Each week we'll be bringing you a round-up of the best from Connected Health, our sister site that's dedicated to the world of health tech, fitness gadgets and awesome apps:

Sleep tech company Lark launches Nike FuelBand rival, the Larklife

There may be lots of different fitness and health tracking devices on the market at the moment, but wristband gadget Larklife aims to monitor everything you do and become your own personal life coach too.

The Fitbit Zip makes fitness adorable, but is it just a fancy pedometer?

We review Fitbit's latest new gizmo, the Zip, a cute pedometer that wirelessly syncs your data via Bluetooth, tracks your steps throughout the day and has a handy interface you tap to interact with.

Qualcomm announces Andorid smartphone for the blind

This week tech giant Qualcomm announced that it's currently developing a smartphone for blind people, which will allow users to call, text and interact with social networks by using finger gestures.

STUDY: People want practical, user-friendly mobile health apps

A new study into the world of mobile health by Ruder Finn shows that users want practical, day to day healthcare solutions from their phones. But just how likely is that given strict data laws?

App monitors your heart rate and gives you the best music for your run

A new app and running system listens carefully to your pulse and serves up tunes to either get you moving and your heart racing or cool you down after a workout.

Belkin WeMo Baby turns your smartphone into a monitor

This isn't the first time Belkin has ventured into the land of baby gadgets, but this latest device turns any mobile phone into a baby monitor, which is clever and really handy for newbie parents.


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Fitbit's original Fitness Tracker was one of the first gadgets of its kind to give regular people (not sickeningly fit athletes) a way of tracking their activity throughout the day. Fast forward to today and there are all kinds of monitoring and fitness tracking devices on the market, so in response to the slew of new rivals Fitbit has changed its game a little, redesigning its first product to the tough and slimline One and the budget Zip, a souped-up pedometer. With a face.

The Zip is a rather basic option in comparison to the brand's previous gizmos, with a much more affordable price tag. However, it's not just like a regular pedometer because it's been built solely for those who want to not only just count their steps throughout the day, but keep an eye on their calorie intake and take a closer look at their daily data via the comprehensive Fitbit app or web dashboard with sharing and gaming features too.

Design

The actual gadget is around the size of a 50p piece and measures less than an inch. It's tiny, but also comes with a silicone holster, meaning you can attach it to your clothes. It comes in a range of candy colours, which on the press materials where there's an army of 'em looks a bit garish, but kinda cute on their own. We have a magenta one and we don't know whether we love or resent the fact a little pink gadget is (quite literally) staring at us from our crotch area, but we're not going to read too much into the connotations...

The Zip has a stamp-sized monochrome screen, which you simply tap to display different results, like calories burned, distance travelled, steps taken, the time and a little smiley.

Just like Fitbit's other products, you can attach the Zip to your trouser pockets, your bra or anywhere else that's "clippable". Due to an incident on the tube with the Ultra on my bra (it fell off, I had to put my hand up my top, I was scarred for life, so was everyone around me), I opted to clip it onto my trouser pocket and it felt fairly secure most of the time, but did pop off now and again. I don't know if I'm just particularly active or that's a bit of a flaw in the design. Although you'd expect a fitness tracker to withstand all manner of physical activity...

Data & Tracking

In the box with your new Zip you'll find a tiny receiver that slots into one of your computer's USB ports, just attach that and the Zip will use Bluetooth to sync up with either an app on your phone (only iOS devices for now, sorry Android users), a web dashboard or both.

We like that you can earn little badges for certain achievements, which some may find annoying but we know will encourage many to want to earn more, keep checking back and maybe walk instead of get the bus. Maybe.

The step tracking was fairly accurate, although you can go into the web dashboard and add in your stride length if you feel like it and want an even more accurate reading.

Obviously the Zip can't watch and monitor what you eat, so you'll have to manually add in your meals and snacks too and then the device will measure calories burned accordingly.

The Zip runs off a simple watch battery, which Fitbit claims will keep your Zip zipping for four to six months, but we just wonder whether anyone will be bothered to add a new one once it's started dying...

So come on then, adorable but pointless? Or useful?

Well, all of the above. The Zip is really accurate when it comes to tracking your steps throughout the day, automatically syncs without fail and we can't get enough of the fact that you can tap the screen to see different types of data.

The only drawback of the Zip is the design of the silicone holster, we're not sure how it could be more secure, but attaching it sometimes just doesn't feel safe enough and there were nearly a few accidents when the poor, smiling, little Zip could have been left all alone on the pavement. FOREVER.

We also wonder whether we'll keep up with it, attaching it everyday and removing it from clothes so it doesn't get put in the watch seems tedious and makes us wonder whether devices that you actually wear, like Nike's FuelBand will suit some people much more.

You can buy the Zip in a range of different colours from the online Fitbit store for £49.99.

ear-infection-otoscope.jpegThe health and fitness tech market is growing rapidly, from wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit to more obscure medical gadgets that could have a big impact on those living with disabilities.

Each week we'll be bringing you a round-up of the best from Connected Health, our sister site that's dedicated to the world of health tech, fitness gadgets and awesome apps:

Doctors now using Facebook as a clever diagnostic tool

Facebook isn't just a place to share drunken photos and pointless updates, doctors are analysing past photos in order to diagnose patients and pinpoint when problems began.

Web app HealthTap brings patients and doctors together online

HealthTap is a new web application, which provides users with a database of over 15,000 doctors in 115 specialities who can provide them with answers to specific health questions.

Calm.com: Take 2 minutes to calm down, breathe and meditate

It may seem a little cheesy at first, but calm.com serves up calming videos, sounds and guided meditation to help you chill out throughout the day.

MyFitnessPal's 30 million users can now sync up with other apps and devices

The MyFitnessPal health and fitness tracking service is going from strength to strength at the moment, with a whopping 30 million users. However, it's set to become even more popular now that it's integrated with other apps and gadgets, so you can seamlessly send data.

Striiv launches a fitness tracking app, but do we really need another one?

The team behind the Striiv pedometer have created a new application, which brings gaming and fun to what is essentially just another activity tracking device.

New mobile app and device could help monitor ear infections

Researchers at Georgia Tech University are developing a device and mobile app combo that'll allow parents to monitor their children's ears.


It's been ready to launch to the public for some time now, but this summer Lift, a highly anticipated "habit forming" app came to iOS devices. If you feel you've heard of Lift before but you're not sure how, why or where, then it's probably been on your radar because it's backed by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone.

However, is the productivity and life hacking app really all it's cracked up to be?

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No matter how virtuous you may feel, the truth is we all have many bad habits we'd love to kick to the crub (eating badly, smoking, etc) and some brilliant ideas for tasks we'd love to replace them with (running more, taking vitamins, etc). However, it can be pretty much impossible to stop doing bad things and adopt new habits, even though you may be totally aware they're taking up too much time, damaging your health and making you miserable.

Well that's the basic idea behind Lift, an app specially created to help people become more aware of what they're doing and develop better habits and daily routines:

"We're defined by routine behaviors that, whether good or bad, we perform near unconsciously throughout our days and weeks. To improve these behaviors -- and therefore ourselves -- we must make them conscious again.

"Lift is a simple yet powerful way to achieve this consciousness through daily habit tracking."

To get started you download the Lift app and create an account (it takes seconds, honest). You're then prompted to "Add Habit" and can pick from a list of good habits others have decided to try and adopt or add your own. On the list already we have a real mix of tasks and activities, such as "Exercise", "Eat Fruit" and "Blog More."

Once you've either added your own habit or picked one from the list it gets added to the app and you can immediately start tracking it. Now you can tap open the app and almost "check-in" to the habit (like you do with the likes of Foursquare and Facebook) to show that you've completed it for today and even add a note to keep track of how easy/hard it was to complete. The point of the app is that you're consciously thinking about the habits you need to change, mix up or include into your routine and you're then given a super easy way to track them.

As you check-in to more and more habits (you can technically add as many as you like, but we'd recommend adding now more than three to begin with) you can see a little bar chart, which tracks your progress and serves up a personal report for each habit you're trying to incorporate into your life.

As we've seen from pretty much every health, fitness and wellbeing app out there, Lift also has a strong community element, so when you first sign up you'll be asked to sync it up to your Twitter account and you can then see how your friends and contacts are doing too.

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Interestingly, Lift isn't as game-centric as other apps we've seen that aim to change your life through simple steps, but maybe that's a good thing, we can't be the only ones who are finding the leaderboards and badges mechanic just a little bit stale...

The beauty of Lift is that it's so easy to use, add in a confusing user interface or too many questions at the start and there's no way users will keep coming back for more everyday. Of course there has to be a certain amount of personal motivation and determination to get the results you want, because at the end of the day you can't expect too much from an app, it's not going to knock that cupcake out of your hand or give you a yoga lesson.

However, if you're looking to be a little more aware and disciplined then Lift could well be the perfect companion to help you change your habits and become a bit better at life.

Lift is available from iTunes now for free.

[Via Connected Health]

umotif-screenshot.jpegThe health and fitness tech market is growing rapidly, from wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit to more obscure medical gadgets that could have a big impact on those living with disabilities.

Each week we'll be bringing you a round-up of the best from Connected Health, our sister site that's dedicated to the world of health tech, fitness gadgets and awesome apps:

The Fitbit web dashboard gets an upgrade too

Fitbit has recently launched the new Zip gadget and upgraded the Ultra to become the one and now the web dashboard has had a revamp too, allowing you to interact more with other community members.

uMotif is a simple and colourful wellbeing tracker

We've come across a lot of different mood, food and activity trackers over recent months, but uMotif strips tracking back to basics, allowing you to rate different areas of your life with its big colourful flower dashboard.

Online card game MoodScope helps you track your happiness levels

Another mood tracking website that combines monitoring your wellbeing with playing an online card game.

Zamzee health and fitness tracker for kids

The Zamzee is a health and fitness tracking device just like the Fitbit, but specially designed for little ones.

Keep a 'Pulse' on your heart rate to find your optimal fitness zone

Pulse is a concept design that tracks your heart rate with a quirky little ring-style gadget and feeds the data back to a dedicated iPhone application.

Online community Lifekraze rewards users for active lifestyles

Lifekraze is a new online website, community and app that encourages people to eat healthily and be more active. It stands out amongst other offerings because users can reward each other with points when they achieve good things, which they can then redeem for prizes.

fitbit-one.jpeg

The health and fitness tech market is growing rapidly, from wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit to more obscure medical gadgets that could have a big impact on those living with disabilities.

Each week we'll be bringing you a round-up of the best from Connected Health, our sister site that's dedicated to the world of health tech, fitness gadgets and awesome apps:

Cyclist must-have: Helmet sticker that calls for help if you fall

The ICEdot sticker (In Case of Emergency) is a little sticker for cycling helmets, which uses motion and impact sensors to send out an alert if you fall off your bike.

Scosche launches RHYTHM pulse monitor fitness gadget

Scosche's new pulse monitor and workout gadget allows you to track exercise, keep an eye on your heart rate and record runs.

The Amron Rinser is a toothbrush and a fountain

A quirky toothbrush from Amron that's an interchangeable brush AND a water fountain in one.

Can Cardiio really monitor your heart rate using your phone's camera?

A new app called Cardiio promises to read your heart rate just by taking a look at the colour of your face, but will it work in practice?

Fitbit launches improved Ultra fitness gadget called One

Fitbit has revamped its Ultra tracking gadget with wireless data syncing and a splashproof exterior and has named it the One.

Fitbit launches the affordable new Zip fitness gadget

Fitbit launched a compact and more affordable device this week called the Zip, which tracks your steps and keeps a record of the calories you've burned.

Kinect interface allows stroke victim to send basic emails

Blogger Chad Ruble has created an interface for his mum using a Kinect, which allows her to communicate solely with gestures and send emails about how she's doing throughout the day.

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The fitness gadget specialists over at Fitbit have had a busy day today as they've launched two devices, the Zip, which is a more basic option than the brand's previous gizmos and the One, an improved version of the popular Ultra.

Zip

This cute little gizmo (in the photo above) has been created for those who just want to count steps, keep track of the calories they've burned and take a closer look at their daily data via the company's comprehensive online dashboard with sharing and gaming features.

It's slightly smaller than Fitbit's Ultra but wider and more like a traditional pedometer. It's sweat and waterproof and hooks directly onto your clothes. From what we can tell it's probably a much better shape than the Fitbit Ultra and more practical too. Its accelerometer will display the steps you've taken, distance covered and calories burned (based on your personal stats) throughout the day and it's so simple to use, just tap the screen to change the data on the display.

It comes with a USB dongle, but your data can be synced wirelessly to your iPhone through Bluetooth 4.0 and it runs solely off watch batteries too (that last about 4 to 6 months before they need to be replaced), so it takes away the need for complicated cables and lots of charging if you'd rather not mess around.

You can choose between blue, magenta, lime green, grey and white options and we imagine it'll be a brilliant option for those who want a gadget to track their daily activity, but don't want something as high end as the Ultra.

Oh and also did we mention it smiles at you when you take a lot of steps? IT SMILES AT YOU.

As you'd expect, the Zip is cheaper than previous Fitbit devices at £49.99 and you can order it from the Fitbit store now.

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One

Just like the Fitbit Ultra, the Fitbit One is a wireless activity and sleep tracker, allowing you to collect data about the steps you've taken, the calories you've burned, the distance you've travelled, the floors you've climbed and the amount of rest you got last night. However the One now allows you to sync data wirelessly with Bluetooth 4.0, eliminating the need to mess around with docks and cables.

It's also had a major improvement to the casing, which is now completely rain, sweat and splash proof, making it much more gym-friendly than the Ultra.

The One comes in black and magenta and you can pre-order yours from the Fitbit store now for £79.99.

[Via Connected Health Store]

wahoo-kickr.jpegThe health and fitness tech market is growing rapidly, from wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit to more obscure medical gadgets that could have a big impact on those living with disabilities.

Each week we'll be bringing you a round-up of the best from Connected Health, our sister site that's dedicated to the world of health tech, fitness gadgets and awesome apps:

Sleepio: New training programme for a better night's sleep

Instead of investing in apps and gadgets that'll sort out your sleeping woes, new online training programme Sleepio aims to change your attitude to rest through a series of web-based training programmes and CBT techniques.

RunForIt app teams up with charity for virtual runs

A new app devised by UK-based charity Trees for Cities and RunForIt will soon allow people from all over the globe to take part in virtual charity races.

Wahoo KICKR PowerTrainer, a bike powered by your iPhone

Fitness bike and app combo KICKR allows you to control the resistance of your workout all from your smartphone.

Sleep Time iPhone app aims to give you a better night's sleep

A new kind of alarm clock app that'll monitor your sleep and help you to stop fidgeting so much in the night.

The Verilux HappyLight perks you up over winter

The new HappyLight from Verilux is smaller, brighter and apparently more effective than any other gadget on the market when it comes to improving your mood throughout the dark winter months.

Visit our sister site Connected Health for more health and fitness tech news, app reviews and quirky medical stories...

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Popular fitness app RunKeeper has had a host of updates and new features added this week, which mean that users can now access more free training plans and coaching advice than ever before.

RunKeeper has always offered tailored advice and training programmes to paying users, but now the team behind the app has realised that people get much better fitness results when they have to follow a strict plan (which we're not surprised by one bit). So, a range of new training features have been added to the app for all users.

In a blog post about the new training programmes Chas Wagner of RunKeeper writes:

"Whether your goal is to lose weight, complete a race of a certain distance, or do so with a specific time goal in mind, now you can follow a detailed plan from your favorite coach that will tell you what to do each day, and provide guidance in your ear as you are doing it."

If you haven't already tried it out yet, then you can download RunKeeper from iTunes and Google Play for free.

[Via Connected Health Via RunKeeper]

man-crossing-road.jpegWhen we're out and about many of us who have no problem with our hearing take for granted just how many sounds we hear throughout the day (even when we're on our own) and what a big affect they have on our experience of the world around us and our own personal safety.

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon have been working on a way to give deaf people a better indication of the sounds around them by creating a pair of special glasses, which allow the wearer to "see" when a loud sounds has been made and where it may have originated from. The wearer has the ability to control the threshold of sound, so it can be as quiet as a car slowly driving past.

The glasses have microphones attached around the frame, which can detect loud sounds over a certain level. Once a sound is detected LEDs will flash inside the frame in order to alert the wearer.

At the moment the glasses need the wearer to be lugging around a backpack at the same time in order to process the signal, which is hardly ideal and New Scientist also points out that the time may face patent issues from Google and its Project Glass Initiative, which flashes when it detects visual alerts too.

The KAIST team are clearly up against a lot of obstacles, but if they can create a more wearable device and not annoy the Google team too much the glasses could be useful for those living in crowded cities with hearing problems or they could just be another piece of cumbersome and unnecessary tech, let us know what you think in the comments below.

[Via Connected Health Via New Scientist Image via Mark Hillary's Flickr]

fitness-wonka-meme.jpegThe health and fitness app and gadget market has really exploded over the past few months (we even have our own website here at Shiny Media about that kind of tech called Connected Health) and although advances in the way we track our workouts has had a huge impact on this personal fitness movement, it's the social element that's really got people talking about it and most importantly moving off the couch.

According to Facebook, there are now 7,000 Open Graph apps on the social network and to celebrate this achievement the team have produced some stats about just how well health and fitness apps are doing.

Research from Facebook shows that popular workout app Nike+ Running experienced a 77% increase in traffic after implementing Facebook Open Graph. Endomondo has also experienced a lot of success after integrating with Open Graph, according to Facebook stats more than 90,000 workouts are shared everyday through the app and traffic from Facebook has increased by more than 150%. It's a similar story for both RunKeeper and Runtastic traffic apps too, which have both seen a 25% increase in traffic because of Facebook.

Although these stats are impressive and prove that it's more important than ever for developers to get their apps onto Facebook, it's also interesting to explore how different developers entice users into sharing their details online and hooking up all of their data into their personal profiles, something that might be a bit intimidating to fitness newbies.

So what makes people want to take their personal workout activities and plaster them all over their Facebook walls?

Well the team at the Facebook Developers blog think there are all kinds of reasons that make people start and then continue to see Facebook as an integral part of their fitness tracking and sharing experience. Some of the key factors are presenting maps and stats in a way that makes them interesting and easy to share, Facebook log-in prompts, adding in gaming elements or allowing you to tag, comment and like fitness activity.

So why do you choose to share all of your fitness activity to Facebook? Or does it annoy the hell out of you and you wish everyone else would stop?

[image via Meme Generator]

garmin-sportswatch.jpg

You might not have come across Garmin much before in the past, but take a look at its portfolio of products and you'll see it's a really interesting brand, creating all kinds of devices from in-car GPS systems to sports gadgets.

Up until now Garmin's health and fitness products have proved to be some of the best on the market, but are built specially for those seriously committed to fitness who need a state of the art device with a hefty price tag. Until now that is. This week Garmin has announced a much more simple and most importantly affordable new sports watch device, called the Forerunner 10.

The watch is the latest GPS-enabled sports device from Garmin, which is super lightweight and allows you to track your time, the distance you've covered, the calories you've burned and your pace throughout the workout. You can also log all of your data over at GarminConnect.com so you can monitor how you've been doing over time.

The Forerunner 10 is set to be launched in the next few months and will cost around $129.99. For those who like their accessories bright and bold it'll come in a range of different colours, including pink, green and black.

Find out more at Garmin Forerunner 10.


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