‘WEARABLE FITNESS’ gadgets are becoming a huge trend in personalised health technology. The latest – second-generation UP24 wristbands from a company called Jawbone – were launched this week.
The new version of the UP band tracks how active wearers are or how well they are sleeping or eating, then communicates wirelessly with Apple mobile devices to make recommendations “in the moment” about pursuing healthier lifestyles.
“Two main trends are wearable technology and the Internet of things,” Jawbone’s Brad Kittredge said, referring to devices ranging from appliances to coffee pots and thermostats that are getting “smart” and connecting to the Web.
“Devices are getting connectivity and talking to each other,” he continued. “What it is about now is putting us in the centre and making it the Internet-of-me.”
UP bands gather data on how wearers move, eat and sleep with sensors and processors.
The UP wristband showing info synchronised to smartphone. Image: Jawbone.
Feeding that information to iPhones, iPads or iPod touch devices linked to the Internet allows Up software applications to tap into Jawbone servers where behaviors can be assessed and helpful feedback sent for wearers to see when next they glance at their mobile screens.
UP applications can reveal facts such as at what time of day someone tends to be most idle or when a person sleeps worst, and then suggest how to improve situations.
A prompt might pop up encouraging someone to take a short stroll if they are scant steps away from reaching an activity goal for a day.
UP24 applications also make a game of striving to hit lifestyle goals and celebrating triumphs.
More than 100 developers are creating applications to turn UP bands into tools that put the Internet to work for wearers without them needing to think about it, according to Kittredge.
When you put UP in sleep mode it can make sure the lights are off, or when you wake up it can turn on the coffee maker.
“If you are having a great day you may want it to tweet about it, or if you are having a terrible day you may want to shout that out too.”
UP bands have become Jawbone’s top-selling product since the first version was introduced in 2011, but the San Francisco company would not disclose sales figures.
Jawbone will continue to sell original UP bands, which must be plugged into mobile devices to synchronise data, for around €100. UP24 bands available online at jawbone.com were priced at $150 (€179).
Jawbone said an UP24 application for Android powered mobile devices will be released soon.
“We call it a lifestyle band,” Kittredge said.
“It is about making it easy to do the right thing, and in a form … you can live with.”
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