Wearable Tech in the Fitness Industry - It's All About What You Wear

by Anthony Morelli

July 03, 2013 // Category: Innovation

FitBytes-WearableTech-JawboneUP.jpgThe newest technology trend in the fitness industry is all about what you wear. The most advanced technologies aren’t necessarily tied to your smartphone. Now, a watch, bracelet or pair of glasses can be the smartest device you own. Wearable technology is quickly emerging, especially in the fitness industry.

Major corporations, including Apple, Nike, Google, Microsoft, Acer and Samsung, as well as start ups and smaller manufacturers, are all in on developing technology you can wear to better track your regular workouts and activity levels. Google Glass and Apple’s iWatch have captured the world’s attention, and researchers estimate consumers will spend $1.5 billion in 2014 on wearable technology, cementing its place in the technology and fitness industries.

The wearable devices can come with several different purposes. Google Glass, for example, augments reality, or supplements a real-world view with computer generated input such as sound, video or graphics, through a chip placed in the glass’s lens. Some devices track your sleep and wake you up with a light vibration on your wrist. Others track your calorie intake.

Life Fitness has the potential to work with the newest and most-advanced wearable technologies, too. Through the LFopen business model, Life Fitness lets any outside developer have access to its equipment’s application programming interface (API) codes. With the codes, developers can make apps, accessories and wearable technology compatible with Life Fitness equipment, so the exerciser can use the latest and greatest technologies on the equipment.

Just as the open business model in the fitness industry is in its infancy, so is the emergence of wearable technology. In a recent study by the Centre for Creative and Social Technology, 18 percent of adults already use wearable technology. The report found that most users overwhelmingly felt the wearable devices improved their daily lives.

Exercisers are finding that the devices better track their workouts and daily activity, which helps them lose weight faster and stay in shape longer. Wearable wrist bands, such as Jawbone Up and Fitbit Flex, track your workouts, daily movement and sleep habits and communicate seamlessly with your smart phone, tablet or computer to provide a full report of your physical well-being.

Exercisers are also embracing wearable technology beyond the bracelet or watch devices. The fitness industry is abuzz over sleek, small devices that blend in with your wardrobe but keep up with your daily physical output.

One of the most talked about devices is called Shine, which is a quarter-sized metal disc you can slip on your shirt collar or pants pocket. The sleek device syncs with your smart mobile devices to track your daily activity goals. As you reach closer to your goals, the disc lights up until it is lit in a complete circle.

If you’re left wondering how much longer you need to bike or run for the day, all you have to do is look down at the unobtrusive device on your shirt. If the device’s outer lights aren’t in a complete circle yet, keep running.

These small tracking devices also offer advancements on the horizon of the technology world. Skin sensor technologies, like the ones used with the Body Media device, could open wearable devices to the possibilities of monitoring hydration, heart rate, sweat, respiration and muscle strain to create a complete picture of your well being at any given moment.

In the future, wearable devices might not just become part of our wardrobe, but an extension of our bodies, too. 

 
Anthony Morelli
 

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