Connected Objects Fitness

Smart Rope skips the gym, provides fitness and feedback in one sleek jumprope

Many people who work out require fancy gadgets, large equipment, or complicated machines to get the job done. They forget that fitness doesn’t have to be so complex and that a good workout can be had with one or two simple tools.

The Smart Rope takes one such humble tool, the jumprope, and ushers it into the 21st century. Smart Rope works with an accompanying smartphone app that tracks the number of jumps, calories burned, and the duration of each workout. It also lets users input their height, weight, and BMI so that the app can come up with the best training regimen for each individual user. Best of all, the rope itself comes equipped with LED lights that, when the rope is in use, displays to the user either the number of jumps made or calories burned.

While Smart Rope’s app isn’t the most sophisticated workout app on the market, it’s a great start for a product that plans to add many more features as funding comes in. Smart Rope doesn’t have the same portability as the very similar Sophia, but it does boast a much sleeker look. For their own, backers can donate $60 for delivery in September 2015. Smart Rope is hoping to raise $60,000 in funding on Kickstarter by April 6.

Connected Objects Health and Wellness

Track bites instead of calories with the Count Bites connected wristband

Counting calories is a drag. Common methods are usually pretty cumbersome, and apps don’t help as much as it seems. Plus, who likes having to do math every time they eat?

The Count Bites band and app aim to shift the user’s focus from calories to bites instead. While no one method is inherently superior, bites are far easier to track than hundreds of daily calories. Both the Bluetooth wristband and companion app feature a single button for tracking purposes, so dieters can use it to set goals and monitor portions over time. The campaign is looking to raise $25,000 by March 3, and have the $30 band shipped out in June of this year.

Although the campaign does admit to the potential of cheating, it insists that beginning a diet by focusing on reducing the amount of food rather than micromanaging the type of food being consumed is far more beneficial for those with a BMI over 25. Instead of other fitness bands like the Jaha or Arcus that keep fit people fit, Count Bites seems like it could be a good fit for a larger swath of the population that doesn’t have the healthiest of habits.

Apparel Health and Wellness

Cold Shoulder vest burns calories with cold exposure, gives fat the heave-ho

As those winter pounds have stuck themselves to many waistlines, everyone wishes they could lose some weight. Ideally, that weight could be lost by sitting around and watching TV.

The Cold Shoulder promises to do just that. This vest uses NASA cold exposure techniques in order to burn calories. While it looks like any normal vest, it lives in the freezer, not the closet. To use, put it on when in a room where the temperature is comfortable. It’s only meant to be used in times of rest, not while exercising. However, if it’s hot or if one is exercising, the vest won’t burn calories, but will serve to cool the wearer down.

The basic premise behind cold exposure is that the body produces heat in order to stay warm and the only way to produce heat is by burning calories. In the Kickstarter campaign, the creators compare the effects of their vest to swimmers. Swimmers burn more calories than other athletes because they are in the water and, therefore, have lower body temperatures while they work out. Their bodies burn extra calories to keep them warm and comfortable.

Cold Shoulder is an interesting concept and one that does seem to be backed by actual science. Its claim that it burns one pound of fat per week seems a little far-fetched, but, who knows, it may actually work. The vest isn’t the most attractive thing around, especially for women. However, the campaign acknowledges that and aims to produce vests that flatter the female figure as a stretch goal. One will cost backers a donation of $100 for an estimated delivery month of April 2015. Cold Shoulder is looking to raise $13,500 on Kickstarter.

Fitness Watches and Jewelry Wearables

Mira fitness tracker boosts ego, blasts laziness

Many fitness devices and trackers offer the same thing. They track activity and create graphs and charts to see progress. Few, however, really take on the motivation of a trainer in order to push users to do more.

Mira is the first wearable fitness device designed just for women. The tracker itself is small and black and either fits onto a stylish bracelet, clips onto clothing or fits in a pocket. With its accompanying smartphone app, it measures steps taken throughout the day along with other activities put in manually. In addition, it tracks food and water intake. Mira makes it easy to see activity and calories consumed per day all in one place.

Perhaps the most unique thing about this product, however, is the tips and tricks it provides, called boosts. These boosts can range from advising users to drink water when they get up in the morning to saying that sweat is really “fat crying”. Anyone using Mira can ask for a boost when they need it. At the end of the day, you can look through how you did in order to determine what to do more or less of.

All in all, Mira is a great product for women, or men too for that matter. Mira should be careful, however, not to fall into the Bic Pen for Her trap, making their product a caricature of what women really need. The boosts are borderline at best, some reminiscent of what a mean girl would say with a sneer, like the above crying fat comment. Even so, the intent behind the product is definitely good. One package including tracker, bracelet and app will cost backers $149 with an estimated delivery of January 2015. Mira is looking to raise $10,000 on Kickstarter.

Connected Objects Food and Beverage Health and Wellness

Wellscale connects with your smartphone for a portable food scale that’s weigh out there

The Premise. Eating healthily is difficult. Going out for meals is especially hard because portions have gotten out of control in the US. Counting calories and pouring over nutrition books is hard to do and completely inconvenient for those on the go. Food scales are a nice solution, but can really only be used at home. 

The Product. Wellscale is a small portable smart scale that lets you weight what you’re eating discretely. It connects to an iOS and Android friendly app that allows you to track your foods, weight and general nutrition. The app comes with a built-in advisor that can look at your food intake and make suggestions to cut down on certain items. The scale itself is so small that it can fit into your pocket.

The Pitch. The campaign video features the lovely Portuguese creator talking about his product. He shows how the scale can sit below a plate and measure each food item’s nutrition during a meal. A kitten also shows up, eating food off of the scale so that the viewer can see how sensitive the scale is as it changes while the cat eats. Wellscale hopes to raise $37,000 in a  month-long Indiegogo campaign.

The Perks. Early healthy birds can get the Wellscale for $65 or $85 at a regular price. Tiers climb from there offering bundles of the product all the way up to $7,650. All tiers have an estimated delivery date of December 2014.

The Potential. Nutrition and health is always on our minds. Whether we do anything about it depends a lot on convenience and connectivity. Wellscale is quite similar to the Smart Food Scale that had a successful Kickstarter campaign a year ago. While the two are comparable in capabilities, the Wellscale app is also Android friendly which the Smart Food Scale lacked. In addition, it’s much smaller and portable which really sets it apart. Again, convenience is hard to pass up and its portability gives it a great chance of success on the market.

Connected Objects Food and Beverage

SmartFork, SmartSpoon sense calories with every bite

The Premise. Part of what makes losing weight so difficult is that counting calories is an inexact science at best. Even with nutritional information, one has to monitor serving sizes and even cooking methods to know just how much calories are being consumed.

The Product. SmartFork and companion SmartSpoon want to do all the counting, and leave owners to simply do the eating. Pairing with an iPhone or Android via Bluetooth, the SmartFork takes into consideration the weight on the utensil and uses complex algorithms and sensors to determine the protein, fat, and carbohydrate content of the food and track caloric value. These utensils are save to eat with, easy to use and sync with weight loss websites, and are even dishwasher-safe.

The Pitch. Inventor Damir Wallener has been working on this concept for a while now, showing off multiple prototypes that started with more simple foods that only represented one of the three main detection groups (fat, protein, carbohydrates). The campaign video is short but sweet, explaining what the SmartFork or SmartSpoon can do, and why backers should donate. To put SmartForks to work making smart eating easier, $25,000 CAD is required to stabilize the manufacturing process of these smart yet simple tools.

The Perks. Bringing a SmartFork or SmartSpoon to the plate only takes a pledge of $99 CAD. Getting both takes $149 CAD, and at $199 CAD these utensils can be added to the prototype SmartBowl which works on similar principles. All products are expected to be delivered before the end of summer.

The Potential. SmartFork embraces some of the same concepts of the HAPIfork but actually determining the nutritional value of what it’s shoveling into your mouth is a tall order. It’s easy to be skeptical about how well these products work. If the tests show an orange slice, or a bit of chicken and calculate it, what about thick stews with lots of ingredients, or ice cream with toppings surrounded by the base flavor? Damir Wallener is confident in the impact of the SmartFork and SmartSpoon; ultimately, this kind of intelligence will be required to complement the wide range of exercise meters on the market.