Monday, October 9, 2017

Growing body of research around wearables

Where and when did the term "wearables" originate? The oldest search result in PubMed for the search term "wearables" yields the following:

Market research on garment-based "wearables" and biophysical monitoring and a new monitoring method.
Schultze C, Burr S.
Stud Health Technol Inform. 2004;108:111-7. Review.

Then, we started seeing a spike in publication activity about 3-4 years ago:

Patient-centered activity monitoring in the self-management of chronic health conditions.
Chiauzzi E, Rodarte C, DasMahapatra P.
BMC Med. 2015 Apr 9;13:77. doi: 10.1186/s12916-015-0319-2.

A transdisciplinary approach to wearables, big data and quality of life.
Sungmee Park, Jayaraman S.
Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2014;2014:4155-8. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2014.6944539.

Clinical researchers and health services researchers are eager to see how wearables will truly impact population health, disease prevention, diagnosis, and disease management. While short-term studies show several key areas of progress, the biggest opportunities are at the population level. As more people embrace wearables into their daily routines, will we see an overall improvement in public health?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Garmin vívosport and vívoactive 3

The new Garmin vívosport and vívoactive 3 were just announced at IFA 2017. These new wearables combine all-day heart rate, GPS, water resistance, and smart notifications. Those are all the features I really need in a fitness-focused wearable. When you add a touch screen and mobile payment, those features are simply icing on the cake.

In some ways, the vívoactive 3 resembles the fenix 5. However, the fenix do not have touch screens and don't support mobile payments.

Fitbit also recently announced their Fitbit Ionic, but I'm waiting to see what types of smart notifications that device will support. Traditionally, Fitbit has only supported call, text and calendar notifications. Garmin devices support more types of smart notifications.

So, while everyone is out to compete against the success of the Apple Watch, it seems like the Fitbit Iconic and the Garmin vívoactive 3 may gain more traction then many of the Android Wear devices on the market. I'm still waiting to see the Misfit Vapor.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Samsung Gear Sport and Gear Fit2 Pro finally waterproof for swimming!

When Samsung released their Gear S3, I thought that IP68 meant that these were waterproof for swimming. Although IP68 means "maximum depth of 1.5m. for up to 30 minutes," I guess it doesn't mean swimming.

Well, Samsung has finally caught up with some other truly fitness-focused wearables with their latest Gear Sport and Gear Fit2 Pro.

While the Gear Sport may resemble the Gear S3, it's smaller and is waterproof for swimming.

The Gear Fit2 Pro may look just like the Gear Fit2, but it's also waterproof for swimming.

These new Samsung wearable devices are rated at 5 ATM for swimming. At last, the next generation of wearables are finally being released with enough water resistance for a few laps in the pool!

Friday, July 7, 2017

While Jawbone closes, Jawbone Health Hub opens

Sad to hear that Jawbone is closing. While I enjoyed using their fitness tracking hardware, I was more impressed by their data and analytics capabilities to keep users engaged in their health. 

I owned a few of the Jawbone UP fitness trackers. One stopped working, so I ended up getting a replacement. A button fell off the other. 

Jawbone Health Hub is a new digital health startup that is launching as Jawbone closes its doors. According to several sources, it sounds like a number of former Jawbone employees are following the CEO to this new startup. If they build a lean team and have access to the wealth of user-generated health data from Jawbone, then this startup could gain value very quickly. I was always impressed by the way that Jawbone nudged users with health tips, relevant articles, tips/suggestions, and tailored feedback.

Good luck to the new Jawbone Health Hub!



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Newer Android Wear devices emphasizing fitness

I'm so glad to see that the newer Android Wear devices are emphasizing fitness. By offering meaningful water resistance, users can now wear these devices when swimming, surfing, etc. In fact, the newer watches are placing tremendous pressure on traditional GPS running watches. If you don't need battery life stamina to run ultramarathons, then the newer Android Wear devices may suffice for the average fitness enthusiast who wishes to go on runs, train at the gym, and compete in occasional events.

From the Huawei Watch 2 to the Tag Heuer Connected 45, you can get all types of water resistant smartwatches that will help you take your fitness to the next level.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Android Wear 2.0 is a welcome upgrade

Google just announced Android Wear 2.0 and the LG Watch Sport and the LG Watch Style are two new watches that are being released with the upgraded operating system. The Watch Sport includes a built-in cellular radio (LTE) so that you can use the watch without your phone. However, it's a much larger watch.
Some of the older Android Wear watches will receive an update to 2.0, but it seems to me that the best features of 2.0 are built around the internal cellular radio.

The LG Watch Sport includes a built-in GPS and optical heart rate monitor. So, it could be a really nice running watch for people who want to leave their phone behind and still stay connected to the rest of the world. The real usability test will depend on battery life: can you go on an extended run while using the GPS, LTE, and heart rate monitor?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Garmin fenix 5 - the smartwatch for serious fitness users

The new Garmin fenix 5 comes in 3 case sizes:
  • 42 mm
  • 47 mm
  • 51 mm
Garmin has essentially taken the successes of the fenix 3 and extended the fitness smartwatch to a wider audience. Unlike the Apple Watch or Android Wear, the Garmin fenix 5 does not have a touch screen. It also does not have a microphone.

The fenix 5 is meant for serious fitness users who need a robust, water resistant (100 meters) watch that has extended battery life. The wrist-based heart rate eliminates the need for a chest strap. The fenix 5 is positioned as a "premium" multisport GPS watch that starts at $599 and goes all the way up to $850.


Garmin will be expanding its ecosystem of apps through its Connect IQ store.

Nixon and Casio have released rugged Android Wear watches that are water resistant, but relatively short battery life still remains a limiting factor. With the release of Android Wear 2.0, we're going to see more smartwatches that have cellular capabilities.