Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

Black & Stone, $199.95 body­fit­


LOS­ING weight is of­ten a pri­or­ity in Jan­uary, be­fore it drops down the list in Fe­bru­ary and sur­ren­ders to choco­late urges in March.

Now, technology can help keep this goal alive.

The BodyMe­dia FIT Arm­band is a de­cep­tively hi-tech tool that tracks your progress and re­minds you of what you should be do­ing. It is worn on the left tri­cep. Four sen­sors mea­sure the wearer’s fit­ness: an ac­celerom­e­ter mea­sures move­ment, a gal­vanic skin-re­sponse sen­sor mea­sures sweat, a skin tem­per­a­ture sen­sor records body heat and, lastly, a heat-flux sen­sor mea­sures the rate heat leaves your body.

All of these sen­sors gen­er­ate a lot of in­for­ma­tion, but the data be­comes easy to read when you plug this gad­get into a com­puter and sync the data with an on­line man­age­ment ser­vice.

The BodyMe­dia Ac­tiv­ity Man­ager trans­lates the data into calo­ries burned, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity per­formed, steps taken and time spent sleep­ing.

The sleep statis­tic is par­tic­u­larly re­veal­ing as this de­vice sep­a­rates time spent ly­ing down from time ac­tu­ally asleep and delivers a sleep ef­fi­ciency score. It’s an ex­cel­lent way to judge whether you’re giv­ing your

body enough time to heal. Sure, you might think you sleep eight hours a night, but per­haps as few as four are spent ac­tu­ally snooz­ing.

The Arm­band also seems to ac­cu­rately reg­is­ter your steps and ex­er­cise, which can be good or scary. Match­ing your guessti­ma­tions to re­al­ity can be tough.

This mini ma­chine can­not gauge your calorific in­take or your weight, so users need to truth­fully en­ter those de­tails to see their full health pic­ture. This is the most time-con­sum­ing part of us­ing this de­vice.

Other bar­ri­ers in­clude hav­ing to wear it full-time (it can be lim­it­ing), charg­ing it ev­ery five days, and pay­ing $12.95 a month to use the ac­com­pa­ny­ing on­line ser­vice (the first three months are free). All in all, it’s quite a com­mit­ment.

How­ever, if you’re se­ri­ous about weight loss, and ready to wear a con­stant re­minder, the BodyMe­dia FIT Arm­band could prove in­valu­able. Armed: the BodyMe­dia FIT Arm­band mea­sures move­ment, sweat and body heat.

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