Next Generation: Fitness & Health Monitoring Bands

Perhaps you're one among the many who've returned to the gym in the New Year, inspired to get fit, powered by an improved diet and optimistic goals. It's interesting to see so many people getting back on track at this time. I even spotted a friend unexpectedly wearing a Jawbone Up wristband, one of the many fitness monitoring devices that have gone from novelty to a mainstream exercise and health tool, in and out of the gym.

Up by Jawbone: One of the bigger players in the fitness band category is Up by Jawbone. A couple of my friends recently started wearing Up wristbands and because they are designed well, I didn't recognize them as a fitness band at first. The hunter green and onyx colors are my personal favorite because they actually look like modern bracelets. For those unfamiliar, the basic functions of Up are to monitor your sleeping, eating and fitness habits. The biggest drawback to me is that it doesn't have Bluetooth connection. Even though you can track all the data in the app, you have to physically plug it into a device.


Pulse: Another fashionable fitness monitoring tool is Pulse, a ring-shaped device that tracks your heart rate. The ring glows in one of three colors that indicate whether you're in, above or below your target heart rate. The ring vibrates when you're overdoing your exercise. Pulse also comes with a mobile app that provides more detail into your fitness stats. Although still a prototype, I'm looking forward to Electric Foxy's future creations where fitness technology is fashionable and wearable.

Amiigo: A design jumpstarting from a crowdfunding site, Amiigo is actually available now (although the early bird special price is now sold out). Amiigo works with both iPhone and Android and stands out from other fitness bands in that it can tell the difference between whether you're cycling or running on the beach, helpful for cross training monitoring.

If Amiigo doesn't recognize an exercise, you can create a new exercise into the system so it will recognize it in the future. Because dives deeper into the specifics of your workout, you can then view how you've improved over time and develop new goals for activities like jogging, swimming and cycling. Like other fitness bands, Amiigo also monitors your heart rate along with the temperature of your skin and your blood oxygen levels. It's kind of a Swiss Army knife as far as fitness bands go and even comes with a shoe clip to track lower body movement.

(Images: 1. Jawbone, 2. Electricfoxy, 3. Indiegogo, Amiigo)