From smart sports bras to trackable basketballs and boosted fit bands, the industry is gaining share at the global Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. By David Clucas and Jahla Seppanen
In the same way that athleisure is hot in fashion, so is the sports and fitness craze in electronics. Consumers want to look and feel fit with the data to prove it.
The boom in wearables and fitness trackers as hot sellers this holiday season carried into the annual CES International show in Las Vegas this week, with plenty of traffic and buzz at the event’s Sports Tech, Fitness and Technology and Health and Wellness marketplaces.
The biggest trend — trackers are moving well beyond just watches, into run footwear, sports bras and basketballs.
Here are 37 sports and fitness products that caught our eyes, which active lifestyle retailers should check out for the new year:
1. Fitbit unveiled its mid-range tracker, Blaze, with heart-rate and smart watch functions. Set to release in March 2016 for $200. The company also plans to sell new frames and bands made from stainless steel and leather.
2. Under Armour put fitness tracking all-in-one with its HealthBox. Scale, chest strap, wearable band tracking sleep and steps encompass the $400 price tag. However, you can purchase each item separately as well. Also premiered by UA are a chip-embedded shoe that tracks steps, and a smart headphone measuring heart rate via the ear.
3. Scales aren’t quite outdated, despite the wearable boom. Polar added a smart scale to its activity tracker line called, the Balance. The scale syncs with any of the brand’s wearable bands and via the Polar Flow app (if you aren’t a wearable kinda guy or gal). Target weight goals send information to the app or band to tailor feedback and fitness habits to reach the number. $100 (app is free). Garmin, Fitbit and Withings also offer scale products.
4. Basketball equipment supplier Spalding gained a presence at the show, announcing a multi-year partnership with ShotTracker. The team’s first product is a system of sensors (in the ball, off the court and on players’ shoes) that will provide real-time basketball performance stats from multiple-players. Set for a summer 2016 commercial debut, the software generates a real-time shot chart for each player and automatically tracks other metrics such as possession, passes, assists and turnovers.
5. San Fran’s OMsignal hopes the smart watch doesn’t get all the play in the sports and fitness tracking category. Its OMsmartbra measures heart rate and steps biometrics like any other tracker. It’s touted as the first-ever smart bra and preorders are being accepted now. $150.
6. Attempting to gamify fitness with a pocket-sized workout coach, Tao connects with a free app, bringing desk-jockeys a way to maintain fitness. Although no substitute for a good, hard sweat session, Tao uses small isometric exercises (using your own body) connected to racing games on the app, so the chair becomes a mini-gym. Wide distribution began January 2016.
7. Vert, official wearable tech for USA Vollyball, is all about quantifiable jump data managing load, averaging height and preventing injury in real time. Premiering at CES 2016, the Vert 2 integrates the waistband monitor with Zensah’s compression apparel.
8. AfterShokz bone conduction headphones accepted a CES 2016 Innovation Award in the Headphone Category for its Trekz Titanium. Wireless and built for runners and cyclist, the Titanium was brought to market following a 60-day Indiegogo campaign raising $654,916. Preorder at $129.
9. iFit boosts the virtual reality of indoor running with a new treadmill that has a curved OLED screen. Linked up with Google Maps, the treadmill will simulate the sensation of running using the visual map data.
10. Kuaiwear releases Kuai headphones that incorporate the perks of a heart monitor, sports watch and customized trainer by using biometric data validated by Duke University. Choosing from run, cycle, swim and marathon training plans, pro athletes voice coach users through the selected program, as vitals are monitored.
11. Half a decade in the making, Levl made its debut at CES 2016 with a breath sensor that detects when your body is burning fat for energy (a state called ketosis). This process yields acetone molecules in our breath. A sensor then analyzes and computes the concentration of acetone into real-time fat burn data.
12. Misfit’s jewelry-looking bracelet tracker, the Ray, is a fashionista’s take on the techy smart watch. The activity tracker is sleek and metallic, measuring steps, distance, calories burned and sleep. Although faceless, tapping the metal tube sensors an LED indicator of how close you are to an activity goal. Misfit was acquired by Fossil at the end of 2015. The rubber sports band runs $100 and leather band $120.
13. Some may look at a watch or band as another piece of gear to remember for the gym. LifeFuels brought daily nutrition improvement to an accessory you already use religiously: the water bottle. The Smart Nutrition Bottle links with the LifeFuels app to dispense vitamin and nutritional FuelPods at the optimal time during training, correlating intake to performance and suggesting fuel and hydration boosts.
14. In its first use its Mio Personal Activity Intelligence tracking, Mio Global premiered the Slice band, $100, that scores your heart rate intensity. This is great for those who doubt the results given by a treadmill post-workout. Designed to show just how hard you’ve exerted yourself, algorithms base on the HUNT study will tell the wearer if their PAI score is above 100 (according to the company, keeping above this number could add a decade to your life).
15. For more strength and CrossFit-oriented workouts, the Gymwatch Sensor aims to more precisely measure the full range of motion and strength expended while strapped to the user’s arm or leg muscles. A companion app offs real-time feedback, which is now compatible with the Apple Watch.
16. Desk treadmills have been around, but now comes China’s Loctek Visual Technology Corp. making moves into the home office with a Desk Exercise Bike. A tabletop design supports a laptop or tablet, which is removable and can fit most Loctek bike models.
17. The MyKronoz ZePhone isn’t a smart watch or a phone, but both. The boxy watch has complete access to Google Play, built-in heart monitor for real time rates and a Goals app for step counting and other fit stats. Its built in GPS, Wi-Fi and voice control are perks, but the design sets the ZePhone apart because it’s huge compared to other smart watches and bands.
18. Who can deliver the most accurate heart-rate data is rising as a key differentiator point in the over-crowded wearable market. Cloudtag promises clinical-grade ECG readings to better assess heart rate and energy expenditure by giving the option to move the wearable from the wrist to the chest for more accurate data.
19. Also departing from popular wrist placement, MyZone makes its second appearance at CES with its wireless chest strap, $150.
20. Sensoria isn’t finished infusing apparel with smarts. The company expands its collection of smart upper body garments for running with a men’s short and long sleeve and women’s medium support bra. Two new metrics — foot impact and average stride —were added to its Smart Running System within the connected garments.
21. Smart bands aren’t just for people. Animals get a collar-attached monitor, the Canhe-Fit, that measures health vitals on your phone via the CanheFit app, tracking food intake, exercise and energy based on breed and age specifics.
22. Twelve sensors measuring electrical currents in the muscles, connected to your phone for muscle to fat ratio make up the tech behind Skulp Inc.’s Chisel, $100. Diverting focus to muscles the Chisel deems “need work” (metrics for 24 different muscles) means pinpointing how and what to train next.
23. Vintage fat shakers have come a long way as SlenderTone debuts its Connected Abs smart toner, sending Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) through a compression belt for the sake of tightening your midsection. Program customization means individualization per user, with an overall F.I.T. score processing every week.
24. Unveiled at Interbike 2015, Kopin Corp. brought its Solos smart cycling sunglasses to CES. A pupil display module (2mm and 4mm high) lends a data display where cyclists wont have to take their eyes off the road or track. Think Google Glass for riders.
25. Joining the boxy revolution against tiny earbud headphones is Streamz new Chromecast smart headphones. Enabled with Wi-Fi, online music sans smartphone or Bluetooth is streamed through the wireless music player (Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and 150 Chromecast apps). Plan on seeing these come March.
26. Technogym competes in the treadmill space with a machine that judges the speed of your run and tailors a personalized music soundtrack to match (rhythm to steps per minute). Although not a first to pair running pace to music, it’s the first time a treadmill will have the function built in.
27. A wristwatch means more than just time nowadays, but while adding the perks of an activity tracker, 3Plus’ new Time Smartwatch models stays true to the aesthetic of a classic timepiece. The 3Plus Lite, Swipe HR, Touch, and Time are all new to the CES floor, with techy calorie, step and sleep tracking in a lifestyle guise.
28. Whole body vibration during exercises like squats, planks and lunges has been hovering in the fitness sphere for some time, in the form of bulky machines. Performance Health Systems reinvented the wheel, downsizing the machine into a Personal Power Plate you can transport, if needed. The compact design comes in at $1,995.
29. Wisewear fashions The Socialite Collection of luxury smart jewelry, moving with the curve as more fit wearables transition to the couture space. Phone connectivity for texts, emails and alerts combine with step tracking, cals burned and heart rate monitoring. And although the gold and palladium bands are waterproof, one look says they aren’t for heavy exercising.
30. Wireless smart scale QardioBase by Quardio, Inc. was named a Fitness, Sports and Biotech category winner in the CES Innovation Awards. Bringing more knowledge to what the number on the scale means, weight, BMI, muscle mass, fat percentages, along with water and bone composition are all measured, syncing to the Qardio app.
31. French start-up, Emiota, creates high-fashionable smart belt, Belty Good Vibes, with companion app, to function as accessory and wellness tracker. The belt encourages the wearer to increase their activity amount by tracking steps.
32. Despite safety concerns, few runners would ever want to give up their music during early-morning and evening runs, so MyGuard makes sure they can be seen with its Sport mobile-device armband band ($50), illuminated by bright red and green LEDs. The band also sports a 105-decible panic alarm, activated by pulling a pin.
33. For anglers, Deeper Fishfinder is a smart sonar that works in conjunction with your smartphone. It is designed to locate fish, get information about depth, water temperature, bottom contour and much more. Deeper operates in both fresh and salt water.
34. Get ready for the ‘smart shoe,’ with numerous debuts in the category at CES 2016, including Footmoov that integrates motion and and pressure sensors inside stylish footwear for real-time analysis on a smart phone.
35. Mettis Trainer offers runners a pair of universal fit insoles with an integrated sensor and an interactive mobile app to deliver real-time feedback on cadence, heel/toe strike and more.
36. SmartBalance Light from Smart2Move measures the weight repartition between the right foot and the left foot, and the position of the center of pressure between heel and toes for each foot. Synchronized a smart phone camera, users from runners to golfers can analyze their motion and weight repartition in slow motion.
37. And Zhor Tech’s Digitsole unveiled a futuristic smart shoe, which can tighten fit and control the shoe temperature from a smartphone app. It’s just a prototype, so don’t bet on these beefy kicks setting style trends anytime soon.
Top photo courtesy Fitbit