Tech Tools: 6 New Fitness Trackers You’ve Gotta Have

Connected Cycle


Connected Cycle turns your regular bike into a smart bike without adding any cumbersome equipment. All you have to do is replace your regular pedal with the company’s GPS-enabled smart one. The aluminum-bodied pedal records your cycling stats such as speed, route, incline and calories burned. The data is then available for you to review with the Connected Cycle app. The device can also sense when the bike is moved, alerting you if someone is trying to steal it. In addidtion, you can also use its GPS feature to locate the bike if you forget where you locked it up. The best part is that the pedal generates its own power, using a built-in electric generator; just keep pedaling!


Garmin Vivofit


Sometimes you need a nudge out of your desk chair. The Garmin Vívofit 2 gives an audible alert when you’ve been sitting for an hour or longer, reminding you to stay active all day. To reset the alert, get up and walk around for a few minutes—hopefully you’ll be inspired to move a little longer than that. Set up daily activity goals, and as you hit your targets, the activity tracker makes them more challenging, pushing you toward an overall healthier lifestyle.


Sensoria Fitness Socks


The new Sensoria Fitness Socks act like a circuit board on your foot. The smart socks are made of conductive—and antimicrobial—fibers so they can track how well you run, relaying information such as cadence and foot-landing technique to your smartphone. The socks look like any other sock but have textile sensors on the bottom to detect pressure changes. Snap the Sensoria tracking anklet to the front of your sock, above the ankle, and then fold the top of the sock down, securing the anklet in place for your run. (Yes, it looks like a house-arrest ankle monitor, but just go with it.) While you run, the app will report your speed, distance and running form to help you stay injury-free.




Get your own personal yoga instructor with a new connected yoga mat. SmartMat, which will be released in July, looks and feels like a traditional yoga mat but has a grid of sensors in its core. The sensors track your body position while you exercise and offer constructive feedback to help you perfect your alignment. First, calibrate the mat to your body’s shape and size. Then select a class from the SmartMat app on your smartphone or tablet. A voice guides you through the poses, and if the mat senses that you are off-balance, the voice responds in real time with verbal instructions: Put more weight on your back foot, for example. The mat works for both experienced yogis who are too busy to make it to class and yoga newbies who are too intimidated to even start.


Fitbit Charge HR


Finally, a way to track your heart rate without a bulky chest strap. Fitbit’s new Charge HR smartwatch uses blinking LED lights to indicate your heartbeat. Located on the underside of the sports watch, the lights reflect onto your wrist and convey changes in blood flow as your heart beats, expanding and contracting your capillaries with each pump. The watch also contains an altimeter and accelerometer to track your calories burned, steps climbed, distance traveled, workout intensity and sleep patterns. And because the watch connects to your smartphone, it can also act as a caller ID. Did we mention it tells time?


Ralph Lauren Polo Tech Shirt


Even high-end clothing designer Ralph Lauren is getting in on the wearable technology market. The Polo Tech Shirt, out this year, is woven with biosensing silver fibers to track the wearer’s movements. The moisture-wicking compression tee is snug because it needs to report accurate stats on total effort, stress rate and even how deep your breathing is. If the tech shirt is successful, the company is considering expanding into other connected apparel such as suits and ties, redefining the phrase “looking smart.”


Alyson Sheppard is a writer and editor based in Dallas. Her work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mental Floss, Maxim, National Geographic Adventure and more.

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