Flyfit, Moov, SmartMove, and more! – Prepare your ankles for fitness in 2014

Move over Lindsay Lohan, because the rest of us are anxious to show off our ankles too.  No, we’re not all destined for house-arrest.  It will be in the name of health that will drive us all to bare our talus-bone and flaunt our new fitness wearables.  Many companies are getting ready to hit the market this year or next, with products that will target anywhere from your shin to your shoe.  But are consumers ready to swap out their wrist wearables?

It wasn’t long after my wife/I purchased our  Fitbit Flex and Fitbit Force devices that we came to realize some of the obvious short-comings.  Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely love our wrist-worn gadgets, and wear them 24/7 except during shower-time.  But we’ve come to learn to live with the fact that sometimes your wrist just isn’t the best place to track steps & distance, even though we still proclaim Fitbit the best option right now.

One of the best articles I’ve come across to-date on the subject of body-worn activity trackers comes from Dr. Carol Torgan, who blogged “Is your activity tracking gadget accurate? Do you care?“.  She points out some of the obvious flaws we’ve found in wrist devices, primarily steps lost while pushing a shopping cart.  But also sheds light on the pros/cons of that and other locations on the human body.  From this and similar posts you can glean that no one location on the body is perfect.  In actuality there are many ideal locations, each depending on the data you wish to record.

My awareness of this problem has been most amplified when I use my stationary bike to exercise.  So much so that it gave reason for me to install a cadence sensor on my Schwinn.  Still that solution always feels like a band-aid to me, where I feel my activity tracker should be able to do the job itself.  So I’ve kept my eyes open on some of the devices that are coming around the bend which might better serve my needs.  Here are some of the ones that have me most excited.

PREFACE: Everyone has a different goal in mind with their wearable health & fitness devices.  Some folks are training for a marathon, where something akin to a Polar HRM Watch might work best.  Others prefer a more inconspicuous approach, where the Fitbit Zip may provide the best ability to track their data while hiding from the public eye.  For me I want whatever device offers me the best software & hardware combination for keeping me motivated to keep moving during the course of the day, but also can track my favorite activities (walking and cycling) in a simple package.  If your fitness goals involve activities beyond mine your desires my vary.  Please keep this in mind as you shop around now and in the future and find the device that works best for YOU!

moovflyfit-ff2 moovflyfit-ff1

Flyfit – Smart Ankle Tracker

What it is…
Flyfit is an activity tracker that monitors walking, running, cycling and swimming.  Unlike most of the devices on the market today, Flyfit is designed to attach to your ankle.

Why I’m excited about it…
Having a device on your ankle will improve accuracy for step-based or leg-based activities, over that of a wrist-worn device.  Being waterproof means you can swim or shower with the Flyfit device.  And it can be used both stand-alone with BT sync, or in a real-time mode that will provide added features like GPS and speed data.

Beyond all the devices in this post today, this one has me the most excited because it covers the activities that are 99% of my day in a package that most mimics my Fitbit, but with the added benefits of great accuracy and broader data.  I’m so excited about it that I’ve pledged $89 on the Flyfit campaign scoring the last Early Bird discount bundle available.  Look for my full review of this product later this year upon release.

Where it could fall short…
For starters I think the general public isn’t going to be keen on a device that you wear on your ankle.  Many folks will be satisfied with a wrist-device even if you explain to them it isn’t as accurate.  Additionally this is a new company/startup, so it remains to be seen how Flyfit will handle issues like quality, support, and software development.  Still, they’ve already hit their funding goal, indicating a solid first round of support.

moovflyfit-moov2 moovflyfit-moov1

Moov – Exercise Coach

What it is…
Moov is a wearable/mountable motion sensor device.  It’s intended purpose is to monitor motion-based activities and provide useful coaching feedback on those actions.

Why I’m excited about it…
This device might look like the Misfit Shine, but make no mistake it is far more powerful.  Where that device can track your actions (so long as you use the app to tell it which activity you are partaking in at that time), the Moov will actually provide live real-time feedback about your form, giving you pointers to help improve.  Furthermore you can actually wear multiple Moov units, such as one on each ankle or one on each wrist, to provide even further detail/data into your activities.

When the Moov releases this summer it will be able to handle running, cycling, swimming, cardio boxing and body weight activities.  Future expansion is planned, to activities such as free weights and yoga.  And unlike many of the devices on the market today, you can place the Moov in various locations as required to best garnish data for that activity.  It is worth noting that sales for their device are over $1 million in 15 days, without the help of Kickstarter or similar launch sites!

Where it could fall short…
At time of launch the Moov requires it be connected to your device (iOS only) except for swimming where it can store some data.  That means you have to sync up in real-time during the entire work-out.  That is on purpose, as it is the only way to see the coaching data, but this also means it cannot double as a full-day activity tracker.  If you jog or run but prefer to not wear headphones this could defeat the whole usefulness of the real-time coaching that Moov is offering.  Cost may also be prohibitive for some who won’t want to spend the money for two sensors.  Overall I see this device not so much in competition with Fitbit or Flyfit, but more so with companies like Polar.  If Moov is smart they will also add integration with a heart rate monitor and put their product deeper into the hard-core fitness segment where they really truly belong.

moovflyfit-smartmove

SmartMove – Sensor Insoles

What it is…
SmartMove is an insole sensor device that fits inside your shoe.  Production versions will come in various sizes, fitting most shoes, and allowing tracking by pressure at your feet.

Why I’m excited about it…
Like the aforementioned Flyfit, the SmartMove takes the tracking off your wrist (inaccurate) and places it down near your foot where it belongs (more accurate).   With data being collected at your feet it can more precisely differentiate between sitting, standing, walking, running, and cycling activities when compared to most other devices currently available.  Preliminary information shows that their software will allow a very nice, granular breakdown of goals, allowing you to truly call the shots about your activity levels.

What will help to set the SmartMove apart from the competition will be their Coach AI.  It uses natural language to set goals and see results.  You can see data about this and more on their Kickstarter campaign.  Be sure to visit and give them your support!

Where it could fall short…
They’ve not even come to market yet and already face competition from outfits such as FootLogger, who appears to plan to offer a similar product.  And for both these shoe-based devices my issue is that I remove my shoes the moment I get home.  That means there is no data being recorded while I’m wandering my house in just my socks.  I’ve spoken with the folks at SmartMove and they plan to solve this issue with a clip-worn pod that will track movement during non-shoe-wearing times of the day.

Honorable Mentions

There are a few devices that have me exited, though not as much as the three above.  One is the Razer Nabu which is a device that I think will finally help blend the smart phone segment with the activity tracker.  This could help bridge the gap, much like the new devices from Samsung will do.  Also I look forward to the LG Activity Tracker, but even more so to the heart-rate sensing HRM Earphones which have huge potential to break down some health barriers for those otherwise apprehensive to buying a chest-strap device.

Some final thoughts for today…

Most of us are not athletes.  We are not working towards a faster running pace, or attempting to improve our kick-boxing form.  Most of us are sedentary, desk-working folks who are becoming aware of our lack of movement and exercise with hopes to improve upon that.  For the majority of folks who are going to buy an “activity tracker” the goal is simple: find a device that encourages and helps us to be more active.

Wearable technology can do amazing things today, and we’ve already seen use cases across the board for these gadgets.  They can/will do amazing things, like open doors to your home, serve as a way to help you find directions to a store, remind you to take your medications, and much more.  But when it comes to health & fitness, I feel the general consumer’s attraction to these devices will be best served in those products that will sit passively in the background, nudging us only when we most need it.  These devices need to be accurate, and needs to blend into our lives in such a way that it is not a burden to utilize.

At the same time we need a variety of devices.  Folks who want a coach/trainer will want one type of device, the same way a swimmer versus a runner may need different devices.  The more options that come to market the better, and I for one am excited to try out as many as I can that will fit into my lifestyle.  Stay tuned, more fun is yet to come!

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Published by

Ari Jay Comet

Sharing my life experiences. Interacting with technology. Digital self-expression. Binary is black, white, and many shades of grey.

10 thoughts on “Flyfit, Moov, SmartMove, and more! – Prepare your ankles for fitness in 2014”

    1. When it comes to heart rate monitors my first suggestion is always a chest strap. I’m partial to Wahoo Fitness they make great stuff (see link below for their entry level unit). But of course the answer gets more complex from there.

      Do you need something more discreet? Do you want a wrist-band based heart monitor? Does it need to record, or will your phone be nearby enough that it can log the exercise during? All of those factors might slightly change my suggestion.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00INQVYZ8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00INQVYZ8&linkCode=as2&tag=arijaycomet-20

      1. I would prefer not to wear a chest strap. The only reason I say ankle is because it is less likely to get caught on a partners hand. My phone is normally in the room with me. Thank you for your thoughts!!

      2. Ahh okay. At this point in time I am not aware of any specific ankle-based heart monitors, but really any of the units on the market designed for your arm should work just fine.

        One of my personal favorites is the Scosche unit (See link below). That would work on your ankle, though probably more so it would need slid up to your calf muscle to get any sort of accurate heart rate. You would need to link it with your phone, and my suggestion there would be to use the Scosche with the Wahoo Fitness app to get the best combo of hardware+software.

        There are other options, such as purchasing a Fitbit Charge HR or Fitbit Surge, and just wearing it on your calf/ankle during dance. Sure it won’t count steps accurate during that time probably, but it would then give you a tracker for the rest of the day, and it would also avoid needing your phone at the same time to record.

        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JQHTJS2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00JQHTJS2&linkCode=as2&tag=arijaycomet-20&linkId=XFOFYDT3VVQTK5QE

    1. I’ve approved your message, but a google search of your name finds you spamming a LOT of threads out there. I can’t help but assume you either work for MOOV, or are a spam bot of some sort. Either way, since I don’t own nor intend to review the MOOV device I’ll allow the link, for those whom may find themselves interested in your hardware. Cheers!

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