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6 gadgets to help you brag about achieving fitness goals

Posting in Design

In between the games and the 3-D televisions that’ll keep us on our couches, there is a variety of new fitness-tracking devices on display at the Consumer Electronics Show going on now in Las Vegas. Health experts hope these will encourage healthier habits, and the industry clearly senses an opportunity. Technology Review reports.

The iSpO2 is a pulse oximeter from Masimo. The device clips onto a finger, plugs into an iPhone or iPad, and measures oxygen levels in blood. The device shines infrared and red light into the finger; blood absorbs different amounts of each depending on how much oxygen is carried by red blood cells.

Masimo already makes these devices for medical settings, but this new product is targeted at consumers. Pilots who fly unpressurized aircrafts and hikers who climb to high altitudes could benefit from the device, since they need to be on guard for hypoxia -- when the blood isn’t carrying enough oxygen. It could also help athletes, since oxygen saturation can decrease by up to 50 percent during a workout.

Valencell makes a small sensor technology called PerformTek that can fit into earbuds or other small electronics to measure heart rate, respiration rate, speed, distance, and oxygen consumption.

MisFit Wearable’s Shine and Fitbit’s new Flex, are wireless, watch-like activity-tracking devices.

Spree, from Hothead Technologies, is a headband with sensors to measure heart rate, body temperature, and motion that can work with or without a smartphone. The company sells overheating warning systems for industry and sports, and their new product could likewise warn exercisers when they’re getting too hot.

Basis has a wristwatch (pictured) that measures heart rate, perspiration, temperature, and motion. It’s designed to be worn 24/7, tracking also sleep and everyday movements. The company also presented an app that tracks and analyzes the data.

“The wide availability of trackers that connect to smartphones is changing fitness by encouraging ‘wear, share, compare’ tracking,” says Carol Torgan, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. These devices make it easy “to compete, to brag, to set goals, and to be accountable.”

[Via Technology Review]

Image: Basis

— By on January 9, 2013, 3:35 PM PST

Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure