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.

Fitness Smartwatches/Bands

PulseOn connects to your smartphone, but not a chest strap

PulseOnLately, we’ve seen a trend in using products to maximize one’s fitness. Apps and gadgets make it easier to see one’s performance level as well as progress made over time. The PulseOn closely resembles pulse-monitoring watches from companies such as Polar, but requires no chest strap. With this wristband, the heart rate is monitored and that information is sent wirelessly to an accompanying app that helps track progress. In addition, this Finnish gadget keeps a record of fitness intensity, distance, time, and speed for runners. One of these wristbands will cost backers $169 USD. PulseOn hopes to raise $150,000 USD in a two month-long campaign on Indiegogo.

Running Wearables

XBand Speed Pro gives runners a personal, wearable coach

The Premise. From the 40-yard dash to the infield single, speed is a crucial element for almost every athlete. Private coaching is expensive and just not conveniently accessed every time the opportunity to train arises.

The Product. The XBand Speed Pro System is a three-component setup that can analyze runners of all ages and advise them how to get a better start at the line and how to finish with the fastest time. With a body sensor that fits arms or clips onto clothing, starting form and acceleration can be tracked even when practicing alone. The finish line module can be placed at any distance and tracks run times down to hundredths of seconds. Finally, the smartphone adapter clips in using the audio jack and interfaces with the Speed Pro app to communicate with the sensors, provide feedback, and track performance both over time and with other users. The setup requires 4 AA batteries and a CE2032 battery.

The Pitch. The XBand Sports team is quick to identify the need for quality coaching with the lack of convenient, available options. Showing off how simple and flexible the system is to set up with various distances and running styles, as well as the possibility for updates to the app down the line, it’s clear how the Speed Pro System can benefit amateur athletes. The campaign text and photos get into more technical details regarding the operation and internal components of the equipment.  XBand Sports wants to raise $150,000 to get out of the prototype phase and begin proper tooling.

The Perks. A complete XBand Speed Pro System is available in October 2014 to backers who pledge at least $100. Additional sets can be ordered at higher reward tiers.

The Potential. Considering the one-dimensional application of tracking and analysis this device performs compared to other wearable personal trainers as it applies only to running, the XBand Speed Pro isn’t going to finish first at market. It continues the trend of specialized fitness wearables that have been parading through crowdfunding sites. However, track coaches and running enthusiasts obsessed with speed will find an affordable solution that will give them real answers without hiring a trained coach to give pointers. This product looks good only in sprints – anyone wanting to do more than just run fast has plenty of other options available.

Cell Phone Accessories

Recoil Armband springs your iPhone back from disaster

Recoil Armband  68fcd90576cb837d7dc2c9c7fccea9e7_large[1]Armbands are a convenient way to hold your smartphone when you exercise but can sometimes make it difficult to read its display or manipulate its touchscreen. That’s not the case for an iPhone attached to an Recoil Armband. The retractable cord allows for easy access and helps to prevent the damage and expense of replacing your gadget. You can get yours for $20 with an expected delivery of August 2014.

Food and Beverage Sports

REALAJ enables full-tilt hydration without tilting your head

REALAJ  ce77d093777e2e936aeb73f6498be39d_large[1]Whether it’s competitive cycling, marathon running, or power walking, staying hydrated is key to a top performance. When you have to tip your head back to drink some water, it can interfere with being able to see where you’re going. REALAJ has redesigned the sports water bottle so that you can keep watching where you’re going. The idea of an ergonomically designed bottle that lets you drink without tipping your head back will likely be valuable to pro cyclists and runners as well as those aspiring to go pro. But even at two for $25, it will be going up against some popular competition. Expected delivery for REALAJ is June 2014.

Aerobics Running

BSX measures lactate threshold to help pace your endurance workout

The Premise. Whether you’re a professional athlete or going for some recreational exercise, you always want to get the most out of your workout. Push your body too hard, and your muscles risk extreme injury or damage. Go to lightly with your workout, and you’re left with much to be desired from your regimen. There are certainly devices that are able to monitor your activity, but it’s still difficult to know just how much you get the most results out of your workout.

The Product. The BSX Insight is looking to change the way athletes monitor their workouts. Packed in a low profile design is a device thats able to monitor heart rate, cadence, pace and calories burned. But the BSX also brings something new to the table: lactate threshold monitoring. Previously, lactate threshold could only be monitored through a finger prick that drew blood, but BSX has developed a system that accurately measures what goes on inside your muscles. It then pairs with your smartphone or other wearable technology to give you live feedback on your athletic performance.

The Pitch. Co-Founders Dustin and Nithin take turns explaining the benefits of lactate threshold technology. This is the first time that that the technology is being made available to the average consumer, so it’s understandable that they take quite a bit of time in the video to explain just how the BSX Insight maximizes your workout and gives a more complete view of your fitness profile. From live action shots, the BSX Insight doesn’t seem to interfere at all with range of motion and activity, and it sleekly fits within the specially designed compression sleeve. The video ends with the two founders asking for donators to fund their final push toward production of their prototype before they run off to the horizon.

The Perks. A normal lactate threshold test can cost up to $200 per test, and in order to stay accurate, those tests need to happen every few months. The BSX Insight on the other hand is only $179 for runner’s edition. The multi-sport edition costs a few more dollars at $219. If you’re not sure whether or not the BSX Insight is for you, you can still support the campaign for $25 to receive a pair of compression sleeves and three months of free trainBSX premium access. The product is expected to be delivered in December 2014.

The Potential. The BSX Insight represents a step beyond the run-of-the-mill pedometers, but the obscurity of what it measures likely won’t resonate with people who aren’t ultra-competitive athletes. It may represent an extravagance for the casual runner, but its simplicity may make it an appealing addition to people’s everyday workout gear.

Fitness Smartwatches/Bands

Moov wearable adapts to your workouts, offers coaching to improve them

editors-choiceThe Premise. All those New Year’s resolutions to lose weight are already two months old. A small percentage of them are probably still in progress, most have already been given up on, and some never even got started. Of course, it’s harder to turn down a workout with a trainer that can motivate, push, and correct issues with form or impact.

The Product. The Moov is designed to be the personal trainer that it doesn’t feel awkward working out in front of. Pairing with a mobile device (only iPhone 4s or above supported currently), the Moov can be attached or worn anywhere to monitor movement and track stats. More than just a simple pedometer, the Moov can have apps created for virtually any kind of workout, with built-in support for running, body weight workouts, cycling, boxing, and swimming (it’s waterproof). Most of these workouts only require the base Moov, but boxing works best with a second unit, one on each wrist, and up to five can be used in conjunction with each other. This way, not only will distance or reps be tracked, but the device can even provide suggestions to help exercise more safely and effectively.

The Pitch. The Web site for the Moov is pretty underwhelming and just sort of generic 2014 startup with plenty of big pictures and lots and lots of scrolling. The video ads are slick though, and show off the flexibility and possible applications the device could have beyond workouts, though hearing Apple’s Siri as a fitness coach feels less encouraging and more like an Orwellian state-sponsored physical fitness mandate. Moov needs $40,000 to hit the ground running.

The Perks. The Moov can be pre-ordered for $59.95 (half the retail cost), but the product’s creators also offer backers a nifty referral link that others can click through to pre-order as well, earning the original backer a $5 credit for each pre-order. The first batch is expected to ship in the summer of this year.

The Potential.  Moov is a lot more versatile than the average fitness band, and the coaching and multi-device usage really help it stand out; of course, the quality of that coaching remains to be seen. It’s adaptability to different exercises remind one of the Atlas, byt Moov’s approach is quite different. Many people with Fitbit friends know that it becomes all they talk about or post on social media. The Moov looks like the next evolutionary step in personal fitness devices, and will certainly command the same kind of enthusiasm from anyone trying to get or stay in shape.