Fitness Wearables

SensoTRACK envelopes the ear, tracks many vital signs continuously

Although wearable technology is on the up and up, you still need to wear a a few different bands along with a watch of some sort to get a mostly full picture of the way your body works across disparate variables. Even if you were fully equipped with all this technology, they wouldn’t necessarily talk to each other — leaving you to figure out what it all means.

SensoTRACK was born out of the desire to give a user as much connected data as possible to not only benefit  their daily lives, but their exercise regimens as well. Sensogram Technologies, Inc. sets out to make a device that could withstand the rigors of physical activity, and so constructed it from a weather-resistant, sweat-proof shell that fits around the ear. The SensoTRACK houses a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a proprietary “optical biosensor” that measures heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation with a high degree of accuracy. It also includes a speaker that gives users real-time feedback on what exactly to do in order to increase the efficiency of their workout, based on goals that can be entered into the web portal or the mobile app.  SensoTRACK can be had for $199, and the company hopes for enough backers to fulfill their $250,000 goal.

The crowdfunded world is full of the types of wearables that make the criticisms of the market seem justified. Some, like Arcus or Olive, are focused on one type of user benefit. On the other hand there are a few, like Zoi or LEO, are aiming to use the data in real-time to benefit the user. SensoTRACK falls into the later camp but shrinks the device down and places it on the ear where it’s out of the way. Add this to the claimed sensitivity of the proprietary sensor and it may be something to look out for, only if the seemingly unending number of features don’t end up hampering it as a result.

Smartwatches/Bands Sports

Smash serves up tennis advice to turn you into an ace

The Premise. Anyone who has ever tried to simply hit the ball both over the net and within bounds knows that tennis is a lot harder than it looks. Mastering the game can take years and the specialized advice of a professional coach that knows what needs fixing.

The Product. Smash is a wristband that circumvents the coach almost entirely by analyzing every detail of the hitting motion on each swing of the racket. From velocity of serves to follow-through form and even hitting strategies, the Smash records all data during a match silently and without breaking up the action. Afterwards, the Smash syncs easily to its proprietary app, crunching all of that data into something easier to understand, with precise metrics and analysis that provides simple tips on how to improve one’s game immediately. Smash also features social functions that allow players to challenge one another and determine who has the best skill in local or national areas.

The Pitch. Smash inventor Rob Crowder clearly has the tennis bug, which makes Smash all the better for its attention to detail and ability to improve one’s play. The presentation and the app user interface is clean, modern, and bright, motivating players to do better each and every time. Crowder and his team need $200,000 AUD to produce and test the device for durability, weather, and general quality.

The Perks. For $129 AUD, a Smash wristband will arrive at any tennis enthusiast’s doorstep in February 2015. Anyone that wants to help refine the device before it becomes available via retail can do so with the Alpha Testing Edition for $299 AUD, available in December 2014. Those who prefer the personal touch can get a Smash engraved with production number and backer’s name for $399 AUD.

The Potential. For people who want to learn the game of tennis, Smash could be a fantastic aid to everyone without the budget to hire a personal coach. Perhaps the last thing the world needs is another athletic tracker on everyone’s wrist before the gym starts looking like a group of people trying to sell watches in a back alley. Still, Smash belongs there to analyze every bit of movement from every hit of the ball and provide helpful tips to improve one’s game each and every time. Don’t expect to see these popping up at Wimbledon any time soon, but younger players who need to learn the tiny differences that separate the good from the best will be served well by using Smash.