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Why health gadgets are set to get pulses racing in 2014


We’ve all been there: after one too many Christmas celebrations and New Year over indulgence, it is usual to feel like you want to give your body a detox come January and February.

It’s lucky then that in 2014, getting fit is set to get that little bit easier. This is thanks to a gaggle of new gadgets that tap into your gym routines and tell you all you need to know about what your body is doing.

This thirst for knowledge about the body is huge at the moment. Whether it is how many steps we have taken in a day, our calorie intake or monitoring beats of the heart – this is all part of what is called the ‘quantified self’.

On the shop floor at CES this year – the world’s biggest technology show which takes place in Las Vegas early January – the biggest trend was for wearables.

These are gadgets that adorn a part of the body, usually the wrist, and are built to ingest as much information about your life habits as you are willing to give. They are packed with the technology needed to not just offer up a bunch of numbers each night but also a way to make sure that you achieve your goals for the day.

One gadget that wowed the CES crowds was called the Jaybird Reign. This wristband promises to let you know when your body is ready to go on a workout. By analysing your day to day activities, your sleep and more, it will offer you the best time of the day to get fit – or as its makers call it, when you enter your Go-Zone.

Then there’s the Garmin Vivofit. This device comes with a year-long battery life so it will never give you an excuse not to monitor your fitness from one day to the next.

Touch of class

It’s not just fitness bands that are getting fitter, happier, more productive – earphones are too. Alongside the LG Lifeband Touch – another band that monitors physical activity – LG also revealed some heart-monitoring earphones.

By tapping into the pulse in your inner ear, these ‘buds will keep track of your heart rate for you. Incidentally, Spotify recently told the website I work for, TechRadar, that in the future it could offer music depending on your heart rate and mood. It seems, then, that technology has only just scratched the surface of body monitoring.

Collecting all this data is great, though, but you have to know what to do with it. Use it properly and it could well be life saving. This was shown to me when I was in Japan in 2011. At the technology show CEATEC, there were numerous smartphone cases on show that monitored health. One had a breathalyser built in, while another measured the amount of radiation in the air. Given that the Fukishima nuclear disaster happened just six months before my visit, technology companies were quick to use gadgets as a way of monitoring and potentially saving lives.

Two years on and this trend is growing. At CES, a bracelet made by Netanamo and nicknamed June measures the sun’s rays and informs the user when to use sunscreen. There was even a device to monitor you when you close your eyes. Withings Aura is said to monitor your sleep patterns and offer a personalised sleep program.

Awake, asleep, resting or active, there’s a wearable for you… no longer is your body a temple, it’s a data deposit too!

Marc Chacksfield is the deputy editor of, the UK’s biggest technology website.