CES 2012 – Health and Fitness Gadgets

Steve AnkneyGeneralLeave a Comment


For those of you unfamiliar with CES (Consumer Electronics Show), I’ll start by saying that it is the world’s largest consumer technology trade-show featuring over 2500 exhibitors (and if any reader out there wants to give me a ticket for 2013, I would be very appreciative).  The 2012 event wrapped up on January 13th and the show brought some exciting new innovations into the limelight. There are a few  items from the health and fitness genre that we felt deserved our attention.

SportiiisThe first device worth mentioning is the Sportiiis Heads-up Display System from 4iiii Innovations.  This device is designed as a universal clip-on for sunglasses that  provides “zone” information by using a series of color-coded LEDs placed strategically below the eyes.  It is explained by 4iiii’s website as a “Multi-colored LED boom (that) provides instant visual feedback of critical workout and racing data (Heart Rate, Cadence, Power, Speed, Pace, and other ANT+ compatible data)”.  It is available immediately on their website for $200.

Basis Heart Rate WatchThe second device of interest is the Basis, the heart rate monitor without a chest strap. I know I just went over this during my last post, but I must say I am extremely excited to see this one in action.  Now that Meagan has her Polar FT4 and is continuously showing off it’s cool features, I find the only thing making me uninterested in it is its aesthetics and the necessity of using a chest strap.  I realize the strap is nothing to stress about, but I hate the idea of adding one more step to my preparation before going on a run.  The watch, on the other hand, is something that doesn’t suit my personal style (and no, it’s not just because of the pink).  I find that most sports bands are built primarily for the athlete at heart and although I love running, I do have to put on a suit and go to work everyday.  The Basis manages to take care of both my issues and alleviates my need for any other fitness device (sorry FitBit but it’s true).  My hope is that Basis is available soon, but  they don’t seem to have an actual release date yet, even though they state that they are slotted for “early 2012”.

Wahoo HRMNext up is the Blue HR Heart Rate Strap for iPhone 4S from Wahoo Fitness. Straight from Wahoo’s site, they state that, “With the Wahoo Blue HR and your favorite fitness App, you now have your heart rate data, your playlists, your phone, GPS maps and more– all in one device!”.  I was also amazed to read that it even works with Runkeeper!  Tie this information in with your FitBit/LoseIt application and you end up having some extremely accurate and well documented data.  Although I did just complain about the use of a chest strap, I am intrigued to see companies utilizing Bluetooth 4.0 for the first time and I am excited to see the potential of such devices.

Fitbit AriaThe next device is the FitBit Aria, one that Meagan just covered in her recent post, FitBit Gets Weighty.  The FitBit Aria is a WiFi Smart Scale designed to be a competitor to the iHealth or the WiFi Bodyscale by Withings.  If the Aria is anything close to the quality of the FitBit Ultra, then it should make waves in the Withings dominated pool.  When Meagan first showed me this scale the first thing that came to mind was: “How can they integrate the Ultra and Aria together?”.  Ecosystem growth is a very exciting possibility.  A ton of great things can be said for what Apple has done with the iPad, iPhone, and AppleTV connection through Airplay (a wireless media streaming tool from iPhone/iPad to the AppleTV), but I can only imagine how these two devices, the Ultra and Aria, could play together. For example, future versions of the Aria could emit a sound when you are near it by wirelessly recognizing your FitBit Ultra, thus reminding you to weigh yourself.

Iqua BeatAnother item featured at CES was the Iqua Beat.  It is “a high-performance Bluetooth stereo head-set and iPhone app that tracks your heart rate, distance, and more, plus gives you real-time feedback as you train”.  The Iqua Beat head-set sports sweat proof in-ear earbuds, an earlobe infrared heart rate monitor, an accelerometer, a mic (for hands-free calls), an adjustable cable, and a swipe ring similar to that of the iPod classic for easy music control. As awesome as this thing sounds, they have yet to announce a price or a release date.  Considering the cost of other items in it’s genre, I would say it’s safe to assume this one has to come in somewhere around the $100 – $200 price range.

Obviously, this is not the complete collection of fitness items that were on display at CES 2012, but these are the ones that we found particularly interesting and exciting.  For the entire list of featured items check out their site at CESweb.org. Is there anything we didn’t include on this list that you are excited about?