Are You a Fitness Gadget Junkie Who Can’t Resist High Tech Wearable Innovations?
Are you brave enough to admit that you're not beyond queuing at a retail shop at 3 a.m. to get your hands on the newest tech products on the market? There's no shame in being a tech junkie—especially if your other passion is running and you're eager to find anything that can make your run smoother, easier, safer and more fun. If you're an avid runner, the following innovations are not required to kick your marathons and conditioning runs into high gear, but having one or more could give you bragging rights, so check out the ones that look appealing.
Category: Your Upper Body
1. OM Fitness, Endurance and Strength Shirts
Why are these useful for runners? Long sleeve? Sleeveless? How do you prefer your smart running shirt? The OM Vision collection of men's sport shirts is based on the corporate vision to “weave technology into life”, so no matter which style you prefer, you will be fashionably dressed in a top that biometrically measures your breathing and heartbeat in real time as you go about your workout! Forget gadgets and gimmicks. Shirts from OM Vision are made of conductive fibers that monitor activities; a “Little Black Box” that snaps onto the shirt sends that data to an iPhone app via Bluetooth. These shirts look cool, feel comfy and they can be tossed into a washer after detaching that Box. Maximize your time by connecting the Box to its cable so it recharges while the shirt's being washed. Clever, right?
Availability: Use the "shop now" box on the OM Vision website to order your running wardrobe additions.
2. The Ampstrip
Why is this useful for runners? Are you faithful about monitoring your heart rate when you run and exercise, but you've been disappointed by wrist-type gadgets and standard chest-affixed heart rate monitors because they fall when you sweat so much, they literally detach in mid-race? Try an Ampstrip, the waterproof monitor that clings like an overly-possessive girlfriend! The chest band auto-detects activity, monitors exercise load, tracks the temperature of your skin and it even keeps tabs on your posture, so no slouching. All this data nestles in your smart phone where it's analysed via an app. This device takes better care of you than that needy girlfriend!
Availability: Place your "pre-order" for the Ampstrip on the company's website and watch your mailbox once your order is fulfilled!
3. Visijax Commuter Jacket
Why is this useful for runners? Is your schedule so hectic, the only time you can run is after dark? Invest in a Visijax commuter jacket, marketed to bicyclists but equally beneficial for runners, because the lightweight vest features 23 high-intensity LED lights that can be switched on and off. The rechargeable battery is easy to maintain. Even if you run with a backpack in full ultra-training mode, those lights won't be obscured thanks to clever design, and here's the coolest feature: If you wish to let a driver in close proximity know that you're making a right or left turn, just lift that arm and the sensors turn your arms into turn signals.
Availability: You will have to agree to accept cookies on your computer if you visit the Visijax website to learn where to buy your jacket.
4. Tommy Hilfiger Wool Solar Power Jacket
Why is this useful for runners? If you haven't met a cold-temperature run you didn't love, this Tommy Hilfiger jacket will prove doubly useful because it not only adds a layer of warmth to your body but there are enough panels sewn into the garment to turn you into a running charging station! Rather than big slabs of metal and glass atop roofs, these solar panels are made of polyvinyl fabric that can be removed if you've no need to charge anything, but your smart phone can stay perpetually charged if they're in place thanks to those sensors!
Availability: Order this pricey jacket directly from the Tommy website, because it's not a likely retail store candidate, given the small market for new products like this one.
Category: Your Head
1. Freewavz Headphone
Why is this useful for runners? We know what you're muttering: "Please, not another headphone!" But remember, we're talking about new iterations of old concepts and these Freewavz beauties are wireless. No more wasted time unraveling wires before you set off on your run. Engineers have prioritised sturdy construction, so Freewavz survived all types of physical punishment when tested, which means that dropping these headphones when you run is no big deal. Accelerometers and pulse oximeters monitor your performance. Pop one or both into your ears to get audio updates on the number of calories you burn, how fast your heart pumps and how much distance you cover.
Availability: Visit the Freewavz website to place your order, but be patient. The company is still taking pre-orders, so you might have to wait a bit to get yours.
2. POC/Ericsson Safety Helmet
Why is this useful for runners? You know about Volvo's corporate commitment to keeping passengers safe, right? Well, they're currently working to make sure no Volvo is ever involved in a road death by 2020. Toward that end, Volvo is even looking out for cyclists who often fall victim to road accidents. This helmet is stylish, too, so if you cycle to stay fit on your non-run days, you can pop it on and you'll be constantly alerted to nearby cars while a beam is directed toward vehicles to let them know there's a cyclist nearby. The Volvo cloud handles that interface thanks to an app, of course.
Availability: This one's still on the drawing boards, but if you bookmark the POC and Volvo websites and check in on occasion, you could be the first to find out the date of the helmet's availability.
3. LifeBEAM Smart Hat
Why is it useful for runners? For starters, this hat is manufactured by the company that innovated technology that monitors pilot's and astronaut's vital signs while they're flying, so shouldn't you have one on your head when you fly by the finish line at your next marathon? The Smart Hat means that wearing an uncomfortable chest strap is history as the hat does it all: monitor your heart rate, tally calorie consumption, check your cadence and it looks great on the head, too. The Smart Hat connects wirelessly to compatible mobile phones, sports watches and cycling computers and there's a Velcro strap to adjust the size so it fits comfortably. Get 17 hours of continuous use before recharging the 100mAh lithium battery.
Availability: Order today via the LifeBEAM website.
Category: Your Legs and Feet
1. Quell Leg Strap
Why is this useful for runners? Ultra- and extreme-runners willing to push past the pain to stay on course will welcome the Quell leg strap! You place it around your calf, and no matter what sort of pain you experience, this revolutionary device can—dare we say?—Quell it fast. The Quell spells relief for chronic pain sufferers who won't stop running despite having conditions like osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, sciatica and other debilitating ailments. Besides, this is a drug-free solution to pain. How does it work? Nerve stimulators pulse in response to the pace of your run and respond accordingly. Track therapeutic benefits via the Quell app for iOS.
Availability: Order directly from the Quell website to get your pain relief strap.
2. Sensora's Smart Socks
Why are they useful for runners? Let's say you already own a biometric shirt and understand how sensors work to help you perform efficiently and track vital signs, but you would like that technology to keep company with your feet. Sensora's Smart Socks are on the job giving you feedback on foot placement via a smartphone app that's controlled by Bluetooth. Those sensors are located in the plantar region of the foot and information is gathered by sensors sewn into the ankle device that controls data. Since information is delivered in real time, you can immediately begin to adjust and correct your run so you don't risk injuring your lower extremities.
Availability: Order your socks directly from Sensora's website.
Why are they useful for runners? While we're on the subject of feet, you might be interested in insoles that not only track your exercise data—distance ran, steps taken, calories ingested, altitudes climbed and more—but they keep your feet warm at the same time! Input a desired temperature setting for each foot thanks to the built-in thermostat that differentiates right from left so no complaining about the left foot being colder than the right one! Digisoles fit every running and athletic shoe on the market and the battery charger is included. Recover all of the fitness data captured using your smart phone with a Digisoles app.
Availability: Watch the video on the Digisoles website and then use this e-mail address in France if you need another resource to help sleuth out these miracle insoles: email@example.com.
Category: Cutting Edge Accessories
Why are they useful for runners? To be honest, there are so many brands and types on today's market, it's hard to sort them out, so we've picked two for your consideration. The BitBite keeps tabs on what you're eating—as you're eating it. Verbalise the name of the food and the wrist monitor will let you know how it will affect your weight and general good health. The Pavlok literally shocks you back to reality if you break a resolution that's programmed into the wristband. Trying to get ready for a marathon by undertaking a formidable training regimen? You'd better stick to it if you buy a Pavlok or you could feel like you're being perpetually tasered.
Availability: There's lots of media hype about the Israeli-designed BitBite, but no place to order it yet, so keep visiting the website for updates. As for Pavlok, you'll have a terrific amount of fun visiting the corporation website , but the techies in charge have yet to begin telling those who want this gadget when and where it will be available!
2. AMPL Smart Bag
Why is this useful for runners? Gentlemen: Meet your equivalent of the ladies handbag, only you won't stuff it full of anything but devices that are charging on-the-go! The unisex bag hangs from the shoulder so you can simply plug your running gadgets into the bag before you hit the gym, park or your running circuit and they'll be ready to take you through your workout without a hitch. Theft and weather sensors are optional, but if you have a hunch other runners might covet your smart bag, you may wish to order yours with these extras.
Availability: The Smart Bag is "not yet ready for market", but AMPL is taking pre-orders now, so sign in at their website to place yours.
3. Recon Jet Smart Eyewear
Why is this useful for runners? Pop on a pair and discover what it's like to have the power of the world propped atop your nose as you undertake your conditioning run. They're fashionably unobtrusive, and you won't be distracted by the small display screen (below the right eye) that's out of your sight line yet ready to feed you data via Jet's Android-based ReconOS. If your idea of connectivity includes the ability to run while you retrieve texts, shoot video and still photos and keep up with social media (there's also caller ID), this should be at the top of your birthday wish list. By the way, the eyes receive both full UVA and UVB protection for crystal clarity without the glare and the Jet's Maps app makes getting lost virtually impossible. Read more here if you're not convinced.
Availability: Visit the Recon online store to order your glasses, because at the moment, there is no distributor in Singapore.
4. Volvo VEST
Why is this useful for runners? Because more and more people with physical handicaps are turning to running for fun and competing in marathons. Ultimately, the VEST project can provide a vehicle for "sensing" one's whereabouts thanks to sensors so the hearing or sight impaired can navigate a path on their own. It will be cleverly programmed to deliver "nudges" to the wearer, so he or she is directed away from other runners, sideline barricades and other obstacles that could stop them from finishing their race.
Availability: The VEST is the brainchild of neurophysicist David Eagleman at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, U.S.A. You can't buy the vest yet, but you can contribute to the cause and keep tabs on the progress of this miracle-in-works by visiting this site.
Lack of space prohibits us from going on and on—we could! But we'd like some input from you to flesh out this list. What is the one new tech gadget that compliments your running program that you'd be willing adjust your budget to buy? Is it currently on the market or is it stored in your head where your other brilliant ideas reside? Don't be bashful. As you can tell, we love new ideas!