Nike has unveiled its latest creation, the FuelBand, a new wristband used to track and measure fitness activity and regimen which could revolutionize the way fitness is monitored.
A flexible black wristband weighing between .95 and 1.24 ounces with a four-day battery life, the FuelBand uses an accelerometer to track time, steps and calories burnt throughout the day and reports NikeFuel, which Nike says is a normalized score that awards equal points for the same activity regardless of physical makeup.
In addition to monitoring daily activity, the FuelBand also can be used to set daily goals for activity for a day to help spawn a regimen. An LED display on the FuelBand prompts the wearer when they have reached their goal, turning a light on the wristband from red to green. Wristband wearers can also upload a full metrics and data report to the Nike+ Web site via built-in USB or sync with an Apple iPhone using Bluetooth in addition to sharing and comparing data with friends on social media wirelessly.
Nike CEO and President Mark Parker said the FuelBand was created with fitness in mind.
Nike has always been about inspiring athletes, and the NIKE+ FuelBand will help motivate them in a simple, fun and intuitive way, he said during the unveiling event in New York on Thursday, which was attended by Lance Armstrong, Kevin Durant, Carmelita Jeter and hosted by comedian Jimmy Fallon.
What's great about the idea of NikeFuel and the FuelBand is the way it provides real information and numbers to show how much people are doing all day, every day, former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong said during the press conference. That's what will get people challenging themselves to do more and better their own scores. It's a tool to get people more active.
According to the company, NikeFuel measures how rapidly oxygen is consumed rather than judging by the amount of activity like a typical accelerometer, which would measure according to how much the arm is moved. Given this, Nike measured and recorded the intensity of a slew of activities to formulate points awarded in NikeFuel. For example, standing around waving the arm wearing the wristband rapidly would count as more activity than intense cardio or weightlifting in other accelerometers.
Last year, a similar device called the JawBone Up was released, but many complained about false readings and failure to read properly, prompting it to be withdrawn temporarily while the kinks are worked out.
While it seems to be a revolutionary product to change fitness, the NikeFuel, however, has one glitch according to kinesiology department chair at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Patty Freedson: It doesn't factor in weight.
If a person is moving a certain amount and they weigh 100 pounds, a 200-pound person who weighs more actually expends more energy, she told The AP.
This is not Nike's first attempt to revolutionize the way fitness is monitored; In 2006, the company launched Nike Plus which measure running statistics through shoes connected to iPods in a partnership with Apple.
The Nike FuelBand will go on sale in stores Feb. 22 for $149, though the company may announce a presale date via Twitter in the upcoming weeks, according to The AP.