Just when you thought that all the gadgets have been invented, someone surprises you once in a while. A few days ago Nike announced the Nike+ Fuelband, an innovative wristband that tracks and measures everyday movement to motivate and inspire people to be more active. Activities can now be measured through a new metric called NikeFuel: the more active you are, the more NikeFuel you earn.
The gadget was unveiled by Nike CEO Mark Parker on Friday at an event in New York. The event was attended by seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, Oklahoma City scoring champion and all-star Kevin Durant and 2011 IAAF women’s 100-meter World Champion Carmelita Jeter. The Nike+ Fuelband is a way for Nike to further evolve the exciting possibilities of merging the physical and digital worlds. Nike has always been about inspiring athletes, and this gadget will help to motivate them in a simple, fun and intuitive way.
The Nike+ Fuelband was designed to be worn throughout the day. The gadget is ergonomic and user-friendly and uses accelerometry to provide information about different activities through movement of the wrist via a LED dot matrix display. Four metrics are available on it: Time, Calories, Steps and NikeFuel. Unlike calorie counts (which vary based on someone’s gender and body type) NikeFuel is a normalized score that awards equal points for the same activity regardless of physical makeup. Users set a daily goal of how active they want to be, and how much NikeFuel they want to achieve.
The Nike+ Fuelband displays a series of 20 LED lights that go from red-to-green as the user gets closer to their goal. The device syncs with the Nike+ website through a built-in USB or wirelessly through Bluetooth to a free iPhone app to record activity and track progress every day. The app interface also provides encouragement and motivation as goals are achieved.
According to Lance Armstrong “What’s great about the idea of NikeFuel and the Fuelband is the way it provides real information and numbers to show how much people are doing all day, every day. That’s what will get people challenging themselves to do more and better their own scores. It’s a tool to get people more active.” According to Durant “NikeFuel means everyone can get recognition for activities they do”. And according to Jeter “It provides a scoreboard for your day and gets everyone moving. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to appreciate how NikeFuel can motivate you. It’s an easy way to get credit for activities and compare how you do with others, even if you take part in different sports.”.
The Nike+ Fuelband was made available for pre-order on the 19th of January 2012 in the United at Nikestore.com for a suggested retail price of $149. The gadget will only be availble in South Africa later this year.
To use Nike+ Fuelband you need the following:
- A Macintosh or PC with built-in USB. Mac OS v 10.4 or later, Windows 7 or Windows Vista (SP2) or Windows XP (SP2)
- Internet access. Broadband is recommended.
- Optional mobile app available in the iTunes App store; for updates on compatible mobile devices, visit Nikeplus.com
Watch this space for regular updates in the Gadgets section in the Technology category on Running Wolf’s Rant.