Fitness Wearables

Stryd makes strides in measuring workout intensity

Most wearable fitness devices do a good job of measuring heart rate, pace and several other metrics. But they typically fail to gauge an extremely important metric for runners: workout intensity.

patent-claimedStryd was designed to accurately measure running power and efficiency while also offering most of the typical features that other fitness wearables and smartwatches provide. Stryd is a small clip-on device that users can attach to a piece of clothing during a workout. The device tracks data and uses Bluetooth Smart technology to subsequently connect with a wide variety of devices, including sports watches, smartphones (Android and iOS), tablets, and even computers. Notably, the device uses patent-pending sensing technologies developed by Princeton engineers. Each unit costs $149 and will ship in September. Its maker set a Kickstarter goal of reaching $50,000 by April 12.

Stryd holds a lot of promise for fitness enthusiasts, but there are far too many players in the fitness wearables market, including Tracky, to declare Stryd a sure thing.

Television Wearables

Google Glass-like Narwhal clips on to your glasses, works in the shower

High-tech wearables that can be worn over the eyes hold a special place in pop culture canon, and have largely stayed there over the years. Most attempts at a functional piece of technology that could be worn comfortably while still providing lots of compelling content easily have all pretty much crashed and burned. Why would merQ think they have solved these problems?

Their product is the Narwhal Clip-On, a wearable device that attaches to any pair of glasses and instantly upgrades them from merely pieces of glass to a capable digital accessory by adding a digital display and a compartment in which streaming sticks like the Chromecast or the Roku can be inserted. Listen to your favorite content with the retractable Bluetooth headphone, and control it with the trackpad mouse on the rear. The display is also waterproof so your showers can become the theater you always wanted it to be. The future’s cost of entry is $299 CAD (~$260 USD) and backers can start using it June 2015. MerQ’s campaign is aiming for a $85,000CAD (~$74,200) goal.

If the behemoth that is Google tried and spectacularly failed with Glass, I don’t see how the Narwhal really sets itself apart. It adds more computer elements to an interface that doesn’t need it and frankly shouldn’t have it, and it shows: the Narwhal is incredibly ungainly and bulky. Even if the company is looking to streamline it, their reliance on streaming sticks will limit it. High-tech glasses are ultimately limited by technology, and we just don’t have what we need yet to make a compelling, Star Trek-esque version quite yet. Let’s not jump the gun.