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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by a wide range of people but with Fitbit's gadgets now syncing wirelessly via Bluetooth it'll certainly seem a bit outdated over the next year if it doesn't step up to the game.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.


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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:

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.

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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:

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]

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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.


gym-pact-screenshot.jpgAlthough we're big fans of Nike+ Running here at Shiny Media, the RunKeeper app is hot on its heels at the moment when it comes to tracking your workouts, setting yourself goals and sharing your data online. It's also a bit different to the current fitness tracking apps on the market because you can use it to monitor all kinds of activity, not just runs but bike rides, hikes and walks too.

Well now RunKeeper is set to become even more appealing to fitness fanatics and those looking to workout more, because it's teamed up with clever money earning service, GymPact.

We first wrote about GymPact over on our sister site Connected Health when it first launched in January and although some may question the ideas behind it, it's set to be super successful because users can earn money for completing their fitness goals.

At the moment you begin by downloading the app and then committing to a certain number of work outs per week. You then agree to pay money for each day you miss. Bear with us on this one... If you then manage to hit your goals you get a share of the money from those who didn't.

Of course you can't expect to quit your job and spend all day at the gym in an effort to get lots of cash. GymPact takes 3% of the money and most people do stick to their goals because of the incentives at the end. You also can't lie and say you went to the gym when you didn't, the app checks your location at regular intervals, so unless you want to sit in the lobby and pretend you're working out (which would be very sad indeed) you should probably just get on the treadmill.

The integration of RunKeeper's fitness tracking and GymPact's money offering makes complete sense. This way RunKeeper users have an extra incentive to work out, hit their goals and use the app more regularly and GymPact becomes exposed to RunKeeper's huge user base.

Jake Cacciapaglia wrote on the RunKeeper blog:

"Different people are motivated by different things, and we're committed to providing a variety of ways to get you motivated towards being healthy, so you can find the ones that are most motivating for you. We know that real money is something very motivating to many people, so we're interested to see what happens when there is real money on the line around sticking to your fitness goals."

As an incentive to get people using both services, the team at GymPact is giving $5 to the first 1000 users who connect up to RunKeeper and track their first activity that counts towards GymPact, which is only available to US users right now. Wow, so even more money is being thrown at us!

Of course it'd be much better in the long run if you were motivated by the personal desire to be fit, healthy and happy rather than wanting to make a few extra pennies, but an app partnership between the likes of RunKeeper and GymPact might just be the kick start some people need to get moving and make changes to their fitness.

So do you think that a cash incentive is the smartest way to get us fit?

[Via RunKeeper]

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As more and more people start tracking everything from the miles they run to the hours of sleep they get each night with the help of the many quantified self apps and gadgets out there, it can be really hard to make sense of all the data you're getting day in and day out.

Of course most of the best apps and gadgets have handy dashboards and dedicated apps that keep everything as simple and accessible as possible, but a new service called TRAQS.me has launched in beta, which provides you with a central hub to keep an eye on all of these different kinds of data, all in one place.

TRAQS.me provides you with a dashboard that draws everything together, including data collected from your Fitbit, Garmin device, Withings and Zeo, with the promise of even more integration with different apps and gadgets in future. It doesn't just allow you to visualise everything either, it's a safe way to store data and even print off reports if you're taking the whole quantified self movement super seriously.

For those who are really into social networking, TRAQS.me doesn't just have to be about your health and fitness either, you can use it to literally track EVERYTHING else you do too, from the places you visit to your daily activities too. Not that we're recommending that you do lifestream everything through it, but you know, if you wanted to be THAT annoying, you totally could.

The service isn't widely available yet, but you can request an invite and start tracking anything and everything over the next few months as the company rolls out access to more and more users.

Check out here: http://traqs.me/

[Via Connected Health]

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Designers are currently working on a new range of clothes called Move, which don't just do all of the regular things that workout clothes should do, like allow your skin to breathe and ensure you're super comfortable, but they also improve your posture, your workout and essentially the way you move by vibrating when you mess everything up.

We all know that yoga and pilates makes us fitter, calmer and all-round better human beings, but getting those postures correct (especially when you're trying to teach yourself with YouTube videos to save money) can be really difficult, which is where the idea for Move came from.

Developed by designer Jennifer Darmour, the concept technology works by embedding four "stretch and bend" sensors into your clothing at the front, back and sides of your body. These sensors then read your positioning and movement, assess whether everything is correct and if it isn't you'll feel a slight buzzing in the offending area, the more mature and subtle equivalent of someone shouting "DO BETTER" at your face. Once you've realised what you were doing wrong you'll then get three nicer little buzzes to tell you you're now on the right track.

The sensors also send data via Bluetooth to your mobile, where an accompanying app will help you analyse how you've been moving and which parts of your body tend to cause the most problems. It's designed to be really simple to use, so you can see animations of how your muscles have been working and importantly track your performances over time.

The technology doesn't just ensure you're creating pretty shapes either, the more precise you are the faster and more efficient your moves will be, decreasing the chance of injury in the process.

[Via Connected Health Via New Scientist]

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Our sister site Connected Health has been keeping a close eye on health tech company Withings over the past few months, as the company has launched a range of gadgets designed to keep track of how your body's doing, but now it's ventured into the app space too to be your personal health companion...

Over the past year few companies have stood out in the health and wellbeing tech space as much as Withings. The company has brought out scales for adults, blood pressure monitors and scales for the whole family.

Up until now dedicated apps for each device were accessible via your mobile or you could track the data via your desktop. However, this week Withings has launched its new Health Companion app, which aims to provide users with information about their weight, physical activity, heart and sleep data all from one dashboard on your phone.

The free application is like a central hub for all of the data the other Withings gadgets collect together, or just the stats that you add about you and your body manually. All of the information is then displayed in a super simple and accessible way with a visual representation of a user's health in the form of a butterfly, with four wings that represents different parts of the body, weight is pink, activity is orange, sleep is blue and your heart is green. As you'd expect, the wings grow and shrink based on how you're doing throughout the day. This cute little visualisation is a great idea and reminds us of the little flower thing on the front of the Fitbit, which is a simple and easy way to see how you're doing throughout the day without wading through a whole load of boring data.

It's not just Withings gadgets and tools that can get in on the action with the new app, the Health Companion also gathers data from BodyMedia FIT armbands, the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach and Runkeeper, as well as 60 other partner applications.

Cedric Hutchings, the CEO and co-founder of Withings, said:

"We are really pleased to be launching this new application as it encompasses many of the objectives which we have been working towards as a company. We wanted to offer the world a friendly and effective way to reach a healthier lifestyle. A companion that turns long-term goals into achievable targets, that motivates you to take action for yourself and finally that shows you how healthy you are, without worrying about numbers."

The Health Companion app is available from iTunes for free now and will soon be launched for Android devices, according to the official release from Withings.

[Via Connected Health]

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Nike has been getting into the Olympic spirit as much as the rest of the globe over the past fortnight and has unveiled a special edition, gold-plated version of its popular Nike+ SportWatch.

The Nike+ SportsWatch GPS special edition version of the device has all the same functionality as the original sporting wrist watch, including an LCD display, TomTom-powered GPS functionality, pace and time monitoring tools, pedometer distance tracking and heart rate monitoring info. However, it also comes blinged out with 18 carat gold decoration and glistening white framework, all stamped with the iconic Swoosh branding.

The watch has already made it onto the London 2012 Olympic gold medal podium, when US sprinter Allyson Felix collected her 200m first place prize (though she unfortunately had her tracksuit sleeves pulled down over it).

To those lucky enough to get their hands on one, the special editions are delivered in a box carrying Michael Johnson's famous quote: "They don't give you gold medals for beating somebody. They give you gold medals for beating everybody."

And that's what it'll take to bag yourself one too; the limited edition models are strictly for gold-medal Olympians only. There's still the standard edition for £149 though for us normal people...

[Via Tech Digest]

UV-wristband-large.jpgAs sun starved Brits, when we're on holiday we're often tempted to sit outside for far too long in the sunshine before realising that our skin is burnt and we're really dehydrated.

There are a few different apps, gadgets and even basic calculations that you can use to tell you whether you've had your fair share of Vitamin D for the day, but who wants to be getting out a big sun monitor, constantly checking their phone or doing sums on the beach?

Well now researchers at the University of Strathclyde have been working with Swedish-based Intellego Technologies to develop a way of alerting people that they've been in the sun too long that requires absolutely no effort and it seems the answer is a range of colourful wristbands.

They look like the kind of bands you get when you enter an event or a festival, but the difference is that when they've been exposed to a certain amount of UV radiation the chemicals within the bracelet change colour from yellow to pink.

Fiona Strang, the Commercialisation Manager at the University of Strathclyde's Research Department, said:

"The sunburn monitor will make a significant contribution to public health as an affordable, fashionable device which enables people to enjoy the benefits of the sun while at the same time keeping them alert to the risks of over- exposure."

Of course wristbands like this have existed before, in fact I remember being given something similar when I was on holiday as a kid, but these latest devices are meant to be much more accurate than anything that's ever been developed in the past.

The main problem with this new wristband concept is they only last one day, which means they'll need to be super cheap for anyone to purchase them and can't be used again if you plan on spending all day by the beach.

[Via Connected Health Via Daily Mail]

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