Trend Report: 2016 Fitness Tech
Dispatches from CES, which emphasize (surprise!) data.
To forecast the trends in fitness technology, look no further than the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). What happens in Vegas must not stay in Vegas, however, so read on for a quick breakdown of some of the innovative body-betterment developments you can expect to see this year.
Trackers are morphing into watches.
When you’re used to wearing a watch, too, the question often becomes “How many devices am I supposed to put on my wrist at one time?” Now multiple brands are finally starting to offer smart watches as a solution. The new FitBit Blaze, for example, doubles as a fitness watch and an activity/sleep tracker. It collects all of the usual stats—pace, distance, calories burned, heart rate, etc. Plus, it has a color touchscreen, connected GPS and is Bluetooth-enabled, so you can receive calls, texts and other notifications while you work out. The Blaze also stores music, provides on-screen workouts and pairs up with inter-changeable bands. Available in early March, but on pre-sale now. ($200)
Shoes are getting smart.
Sensors are being seamlessly integrated into running shirts, shorts and shoes to give you better intel about what’s happening to your body as you stride. The Altra IQ Smart Shoe has a razor-thin, multi-sensor system hidden in its midsole that wirelessly transmits data to the iFit app on your phone (or an iFit watch), giving you real-time feedback on your foot strike (where you absorb the most impact), pace, distance, cadence, ground contact time and more. Built on the same last as the Altra Impulse, it has a Zero Drop (no height difference between heel and forefoot) midsole and a foot-shaped toebox to encourage a more natural stride. (Available in March; $199)
Athletes—not just exercisers—want analytics.
No matter what your game is—golf, baseball, tennis, basketball—or how good you already play it, there seems to be a way to get even better. Several companies are making sensors that provide instant analytics on your performance (plus feedback on how to improve), so it’s almost like having a personal coach out there on the court (or field, or course) with you. With the basketball-focused ShotTracker, a wrist sensor notes when you attempt a shot, a net sensor signals if that shot was made or missed, and all of that info is wirelessly sent to the ShotTracker App, which tracks and stores your data. The App then recommends workouts and drills to address any noted trouble spots you’ve got on the court. ($150)
Scales are getting weigh better.
Newer, smarter scales are making it easier for users to manage their long-term health and fitness goals without becoming obsessed with any totally normal, short-term weight fluctuations. In addition to your body weight, the clinically-tested QardioBase smart scale also measures your Body Mass Index (BMI), muscle mass, body fat percentage, water and bone composition, and then wirelessly sends those stats to the Qardio App on your phone. ($150)
Mattresses are taking measurements.
Most activity trackers already take your Zzz’s into account, but products like the it bed by Sleep Number are taking it to a whole new level. This cozy bed has technology built into the mattress that measures how you sleep and then offers adjustments and insights that could help you see improvements. It also allows you to adjust both sides of the bed based on you and your partner’s individual results. Available summer 2016. (Starting at around $1,000;)