Fitness Health and Wellness

MOBO is ready to roll with muscle relief wherever you are

As an athlete, it’s important to take care of your muscles and joints. Not everyone can afford professional massages, so other methods must be used. However, rubbing your back against a door jamb just for some relief isn’t ideal. The MOBO System is the self-proclaimed Swiss Army Knife of massage. This product transforms into many different shapes, textures and densities to deliver a custom massage to any part of your body, from your neck to your feet. It’s easily transportable and has lots of possibilities for assembly. One will cost sore backers $109 on Kickstarter, or $99 if they’re early enough with higher tiers offering more elaborate versions of MOBO. MOBO hopes to raise $50,000.

This product’s flexibility in use is pretty cool. The campaign does a good job of showing all the different ways it can be morphed and how many parts of the body benefit. However, assembly does look a little finicky to break down and rebuild. Also, MOBO should warn users that it can’t cure serious injury. Nevertheless, for the typical mostly-healthy athlete, MOBO is a great accessory to have on the field.

Connected Objects Fitness

Yoga SmartMat provides guidance to make you a perfect poser

Yoga is all about balance. Unfortunately, our bodies are alarmingly lopsided. A pose that we can do perfectly on one side of our bodies is surprisingly difficult on the other side. Yoga teachers are constantly adjusting their students to maintain balance in their poses. The SmartMat does the exact same thing. By connecting with your tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth, the SmartMat collects data about your posture, balance and alignment to assist you with becoming a yogi master. It first adjusts your alignment, telling you, for example, to move your right foot forward. Then, it tells you to shift your weight so there is equal pressure on both sides of the body, a very important aspect of yoga. The app lets you monitor your progress over time and even gives you new yoga moves to try out. Powered by battery, this mat boasts up to six hours of life. For a mat and the Android/iOS compatible app, backers will have to shell out $347, $100 less than the retail price, for estimated delivery in September 2015. SmartMat is hoping to raise $110,000 during its campaign on Indiegogo.

By all accounts, SmartMat looks like a super cool way to get your yoga on. Most fitness monitoring devices focus on higher impact sports, like the runScribe. SmartMat, while expensive, provides a ton of useful information since the entire mat is collecting data from the entire body, pretty cool. Looking like a traditional yoga mat and made out of most of the same materials, it’s a little concerning how long this mat will last. Some mats wear out over time, but with such an expensive investment, it’ll be important for SmartMat to prove its functional longevity. Also, it’s only water and sweat resistant and not proof. Big sweaters and hot yoga practitioners will have to protect the SmartMat with an extra towel. Still, this super cool product is a great tool for yoga enthusiasts looking to perfect their practice.

Running Wearables

Zoi wearable helps you run better and safer

From the neon-colored, spandex laced marathoners to those simply seeking to keep fit, poor technique is the main cause of running injuries. Avoiding these injuries while working towards a stride and pace that is challenging yet suitable for the body takes consistent feedback and patient coaching. Unfortunately, employing a coach can be cost prohibitive, running apps only telling you how much you run, and technical gait analyses only give you a snapshot of your technique for too much money.

Runteq is positioning their biometric running system, Zoi, as your personal coach. Comprising of a chest and foot sensor, runners can enjoy vocal feedback with the included wireless earbuds about very specific aspects of their technique, all in real time. Feedback takes the form of cheering and gentle encouragement advising you on things like pronation, ground contact time, and overall body motion, all of which can be used to create shareable personal training plans for review on the Zoi smartphone app. There a number of perks available, each offering Zoi for discounted prices ranging from €69 to €119, all contributing to the company’s funding goal of €50,000.

Another company has taken a stab at the same issue of runner education with runScribe, a pedometer sized device that attaches to your foot. Compared to Zoi, though, it has a much narrower focus — limited to collecting information that’s manually uploaded rather than actively feeding it back to the user.

Zoi is coming along at a time where interest in wearable tech is at an all-time high, but where the expectations at what they can do are similarly high. Applications and wearables are saturated with heart rate and blood pressure monitors which provide disjointed information, so Zoi pushes the envelope with their novel, smart feedback system. While the MSRP may be a bit pricey at €149, it will surely come out cheaper than other, more expensive alternatives.

Connected Objects Fitness

Glyder is a smartphone-connected exercise product for the deskbound

The Premise. Sitting is as harmful to our health as smoking is. Or so they say. Either way, it’s difficult for office workers to get the exercise they need in order to stay healthy. Some have the chance to take a walk at lunchtime, but busier bees are chained to their desks all day.

The Product. Glyder is a fitness device that lives underneath your office desk. Resembling a digital scale, it has two pedals on either side where your feet go and comes in red, gray or black. The motion is similar to that of an elliptical machine. A large digital screen on top shows the calories you’ve burned, the strides you’ve taken and how close you are to your daily exercise goal. This data can be stored and set with an accompanying smartphone app. The app stores your workout history and also allows you to adjust the resistance of Glyder and compete with other Glyder users.

The Pitch. Glyder’s campaign video shows an office worker trying and failing to workout at the office. There’s also a funny part where the Glyder user makes less noise while exercising than her coworker sitting in a rocking chair. The rest of the campaign goes through Glyder’s various features along with helpful gifs of the pedal width being adjusted as well as the product in use. This under-the-table fitness device hopes to raise $75,000 on Kickstarter.

The Perks. Early gliders can enjoy the Glyder for $99 at a regular price of $139. The top tier of $10,000 offers backers a trip to China to tour Glyder’s factories. Estimated delivery is currently set for January 2015.

The Potential. As with any office workout tool, there’s always the risk of looking unprofessional as your legs mysteriously gyrate under your desk. We’ve seen several of these types of products at Backerjack like Tao and Cubii, both of which stress at-desk workouts. Like Cubii, Glyder emphasizes that elliptical motion, but does so in a sleeker manner at a fraction of the cost. While it’s unclear how beneficial a Glyder workout really is, the price and lure of activity at the office may be irresistible for antsy executives.

Connected Objects Fitness Smartwatches/Bands

$29 Jaha fitness band counts steps, saved dollars

jaha2With the likes of the Fitbit Flex, Jawbone Up, and Nike Fuelband hogging up the spotlight alongside other, lesser known fitness bands, Jaha is hoping their version will stand out. With the options to locate and challenge others nearby or take up the virtual challenges Jaha will throw at you with the accompanying iOS app, the product isn’t content with only keeping you informed, but motivated as well. Of course, the challenge is that we’re starting to see a lot of this step-counting functionality built into the smartphones themselves. Jaha’s campaign is trying to shore up $25,000 to have their band around your wrist by November 2014.

Running Sensors/IoT Wearables

runScribe takes all the running data you need in stride

The Premise. Runners and joggers love to run and jog all the time. The only problem with this high-impact sport is the injuries that it can cause. These injuries tend to knock athletes off of their feet and they are unable to run for a period of time. It is unclear where these injuries come from and why they occur so frequently.

The Product. RunScribe is a small portable device that attaches to the back of your shoe via a cradle that works with all different kinds of sneakers. This device is worn during a run and, at the end, automatically uploads its data to your computer. Using its 9-axis kinematic sensor, the product measures 13 points of data including impact Gs, braking Gs, pronation velocity, pace, contact time and footstrike type. It runs on battery and uses Bluetooth to connect to the iOS and Android app as well as the computer. RunScribe is small and only about the size of pedometer.

The Pitch. RunScribe’s campaign video shows its creator discussing the drawbacks of running-induced injuries. He explains that with the metrics his product provides, a runner will be able to compare their stats with that of the average runner through the app. For example, he found that he was hitting the ground much harder than the average. In addition, he discusses the value of using runScribe to compare different types of sneakers. RunScribe is hoping to raise $50,000 in a month on Kickstarter.

The Perks. For $99, backers will receive the runScribe with limited metrics. At the $119 tier, backers get the runScribe and complete set of metrics at an early price as compared to the regular price of $139. Reward tiers reach up to $2,500 with estimated delivery set in November and December 2014. 

The Potential. Fitness devices are everywhere right now. Not literally, they’re not lying around in the streets, but there are a ton of options to choose from for any athlete looking for metrics about their performance. Most are more overarching like the Arcus ring, but runScribe offers a service that’s unique to runners. It lives on the foot instead of the wrist or finger to get the data that runners need. In addition, it provides baseline statistics on what other runners are experiencing. All in all, runScribe is an excellent option for runners who want to prevent injury and improve their stride.

Connected Objects Fitness Health and Wellness

PrO2 helps you breathe easy when it comes to personal fitness

pro2Anyone who has stepped on a treadmill for the first time in months knows how quickly breath leaves unfit lungs. Fitness and how hard one can push themselves has so much to do with how easy it is to breathe. PrO2 is a device that can monitor a baseline breath and with that create a training program to help build endurance and ease of breath. Sending its readouts to any smartphone or tablet, PrO2 is quick and easy to use. The wait-and-see approach of PrO2 feels outdated, however, considering the real-time input/output cycle of wearable fitness trackers and even breathing trackers like Spire. PrO2 will hit the ground running in September for $199.

Health and Wellness Wearables

Whatever your music tastes GoGlove plugs into the new wave

The Premise. Exercising can be even more exhilarating and fruitful with the right music on to help push you to go further. No music, or slow sappy music, can completely mess with your workout rhythm or even make you want to stop. Most music players need to be handled manually in order to change the song, which can be a total hassle.

The Product. The GoGlove is a sports glove that connects to your music player via Bluetooth. Using different finger touch patterns, the wearer can adjust the volume, skip, go back, activate SIRI, play and pause their music on the go. The thin glove can be worn alone or underneath a ski glove for those engaging in winter sports. Its black material makes it look discreet and subtle.

The Pitch. GoGlove’s campaign video shows a humorous montage of runners, cyclists and other athletic types interrupted by a sappy love song. Its creators discuss the functionality of their product, along with stretch goals. The rest of the campaign discusses battery life and other tech specs of the glove. GoGlove is reaching for a $50,000 goal in a month-long Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. For early-glove-wearers, the product is $69 or $79 at a regular price with estimated delivery in December 2014. A stretch goal of $60,000 has been set in the hopes of creating an accompanying Android/iOS app so that wearers can customize their glove experience. A second stretch goal of $100,000 would allow the creators to develop a second product in a wristband form, for warmer sports.

The Potential. There’s nothing like exercising to great music and most people know what it’s like to be powering it out to Beyonce only to lag behind when Jack Johnson comes on. Lots of headphones and earbuds offer a way to adjust the players volume easily, but don’t have the array of options that the GoGlove has. Similarly, most opt to simply make a gym or exercising playlist filled with techno jams to keep that heart rate up. Still, GoGlove’s concept is novel in the fitness accessory world and will certainly be a welcome addition to the market, especially for those engaging in colder sports.

Fitness Wearables

LEO helps you get a leg up on your workout regime

The Premise. The only people who don’t tell themselves in the backs of their heads every day that they should be working out more are the people who are already gym rats. Of course, while the concept of exercise is all well and good, all those who are planning another attempt at their failed New Year’s resolution this year can still seriously hurt themselves if they don’t know what they’re doing.

The Product. LEO is a piece of wearable smart tech in the form of a flexible leg band. The device monitors all kinds of data from heart rate, motion sensing, and even hydration and muscle activity. If LEO detects that it’s time for a break, a drink, or an adjustment to form, it notifies the user in easy to understand language. LEO can help keep exercise and the body at peak levels, and even call for an outright break if things get too far gone.

The Pitch. The pitch video for LEO stresses the simplicity of use and guidance that the device provides, and that’s good because it’s what makes this device so helpful. LEO is sold as an intuitive, automatic workout guide, and that’s what separates it from everything else. The designers need $50,000 for tooling and manufacturing with stretch goals for color options, haptic feedback, and a soccer-focused app to help train World Cup stars of tomorrow.

The Perks. The LEO LegBand is expected to be out in April of next year, and can be picked up along with the app and access to the device’s shared server for $184. Beta tests will begin in September 2014 and supporters can sign up for the early release for $599. Developers can also get into the beta as well as access the API and SDK for $2,999 in December.

The Potential. LEO is a great idea for people who want to get in shape without becoming a professional at one specific activity. Devices like Moov have shown off much more specific, detailed data output from an activity tracker which is great for athletes in training. LEO on the other hand is out to basically keep people from hurting themselves or taking it too easy on the path to fitness, and that’s a great, useful thing to have. It would be nice to see LEO sensors that can go in places besides the thigh just for those that might prefer to keep their trackers elsewhere, but that may be a development that comes later in LEO’s race to the top of the hill of fitness tracking devices.


Fitness Wearables

Arcus is the one fitness ring to rule them all

The Premise. Many fitness-centric devices allow people to track their progress as they exercise. Most are worn on the wrist or arm and give information about time elapsed as well as distance travelled. For feedback on actual technique, most athletes resort to a coach.

The Product. Arcus is a motion analyzer that you wear as a ring. It provides feedback to you via its app about the activity or sport you are engaging in down to information on your tennis stroke or golf swing, for example. Other information provided by Arcus include stroke strength, speed, average accuracy, average time, distances travelled, impact, and the list goes on. There are no real limitations to the kinds of feedback or sport that Arcus is compatible with. This ring charges wirelessly and also comes with a magnetic sphere. The ring-wearer can roll this sphere around, allowing it to properly calibrate and gather information about the environment, making its data more reliable. In addition, wearing it on one’s finger instead of wrist provides more accurate motion information. As an added bonus, this smart little ring also allows lets the wearer control any Bluetooth Smart Ready device in the vicinity. The ring comes in many different colors, patterns and finishes and is also completely waterproof.

The Pitch. The Arcus video cuts right to the chase and explains how the ring works along with how many uses it has. For the remainder of the campaign, the Hungarian creators show examples of Arcus at work along with screenshots of the app. It also goes through the huge number of color options for the ring, testimonials, tech information, product comparisons and the prototyping process. The Kickstarter campaign has a huge $320,000 goal in its 35-day run. 

The Perks. Donation levels for one Arcus plus charger and app range from $149 – $230 based on color and finish. Higher tiers offer multi-packs at heavily discounted rates. Reward tiers climb up to $2,500 and all rings are expected to ship by February 2015. 

The Potential. We’ve seen a slew of smart jewelry on the market recently. The Ringly alerts wearers to calls and texts coming through to their phone. For fitness, the ever-popular FitBit tracks fitness performance with an app, similar to Arcus, along with sleep activity and food intake. The WonderRing tracks heart rate, temperature and sports performance and also allows the wearer to control surrounding electronics. While all of these wearables are certainly very cool, Arcus is the only one that actually provides feedback on technique. The fact that it can help an athlete improve upon their game is invaluable. In addition, its capabilities in working with Bluetooth Smart Ready devices make it especially unique. All in all, for the price and wide range of uses, it is clear that Arcus is the next big thing in smart wearable jewelry.