The Best Smart Health Tech of 2016
The one constant in all our lives isn’t time or aging or taxes, it’s our body. You’re never without it. And it’s never without you. And while we’re still a few years away from technological singularity wherein we can directly upload our consciousness into immortal cyborgs or some more benign version of the matrix, our current technology provides the ability to monitor and measure our bodies in ways we could have only dreamed of just a decade ago.
From smart thermometers to muscle-analyzing fitness devices, tech is creeping its way ever close to our biological temples and it isn’t going away anytime soon. So we say embrace and adopt the smart health technology that’s being developed at breakneck speed and practice being a cybernetic entity with our list of the best smart health tech of 2016.
Smart Rope Tangram, $80
Jumping rope is an amazing cardio workout that conditions while upping endurance and strength. Tangram’s Smart Rope does you one better by keeping track of your jump count, calories burned, time elapsed, and monitors your progress. The best feature of this rope, however, are the 23 LED lights embedded in the rope that flash your jump count and other information as it spins around you. Using a sophisticated internal processor, the rope times the LED lights to flash at just the right moment, creating what is essentially a monitor floating in midair directly in front of you. The four digit display shows you your jump count, intervals, and can even register double-unders. The Smart Rope also connects to the Smart Gym app which allows you to monitor and customize your workouts and routines. For under $100, this smart rope is pricey for a small piece of gym equipment, but cheap for a sophisticated piece of technology.
FIT Guard Mouth Guard $140
It’s no secret that contact sports often lead to injury in the form of a mild concussion. While one concussion itself isn’t extremely dangerous, multiple concussions in short periods of time and severe concussions spread out over many years often result in CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows or severe blows to the head, and often diagnosed in former professional football players, hockey players, and other contact sports veterans. FIT Guard, a smart mouthguard with built-in accelorometers, aims “to solve the problem of athletes returning to play when there is a high probability of head-injury.” By monitoring impacts and syncing with an accompanying app, the FIT Guard system uses a predetermined formula based on the player’s age, height, weight, and gender to determine if the player has suffered a detrimental impact and whether or not it is medically acceptable for the athlete to return to gameplay. The goal here is to reduce the risk of repeated injury while keeping the player on the field as often as possible. While this product might not be a substitute for an actual doctor, it’s a handy approximation for high-school or college football fields.
Skinvision Melanoma App 1 Month Free Trial
$5 Each Month Thereafter
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just 51 percent of men reported using any sunscreen at all in the past year and a whopping 70 percent had no idea what the signs and symptoms of skin cancer look like. So, in addition to slathering on sunscreen, staying indoors during mid-day, and generally wearing protective clothing and hats, arm yourself with Skinvisions Melanoma App and you’ll never ask, “has that mole always been there?” ever again. Skinvisions is simple: download the app to your smartphone, take a photo of an area of skin you may be questioning (a mole, a dark spot, etc), and watch as the app analyzes the mark and makes a basic diagnosis or determination–if it doesn’t look good, the app will tell you right away and you can seek immediate medical attention. If the app dubs the mark suspicious, simply archive the image and keep tracking any changes with additional photos. After a few weeks or months, take the info to your doctor for a full examination and explanation. Testimonials for the app indicate high rates of identification success for basal cell skin cancers.
Withings Thermo $100
Withing has taken the inaccuracy and bodily fluids out of taking temperatures. Rather than using a mercury filled, glass thermometer that requires minutes in contact with potentially infectious saliva, opt instead for this fully digital, completely sanitary Thermo thermometer. Using 16 infrared sensors to take 4,000 measurements across the human forehead, the Thermo gains an accurate temperature reading of the temporal artery, considered to be the best location to detect temperature because the blood flowing through that area comes almost directly from the body’s core. If you have kids, this thermometer allows you to take their temperature without disturbing their sleep or otherwise annoying them. You can also take your own temperature easily and with immediate results. The device also syncs up with an app on your smartphone, giving you a record of your past fevers and illnesses.
Hydrate smart water bottle $55
This water bottle connects via Bluetooth to a hydration app that syncs up with all your smart health devices. Set your hydration goals for the day with the app and watch as this bottle records how many sips you’ve taken. If you’re falling short of your water-intake goal, the bottle will glow softly, alerting you to the fact that you need to drink more. It’s also pretty damn good looking.
Koto Air Sensor $140
Unless you live in Beijing, chances are that the air quality of your home could be significantly worse than the air quality outdoors. This may seem counter-intuitive, but recent studies have shown this to be true. And, according to the EPA, most people spend 90% of their lives indoors, potentially increasing their health risks as a result. Mitigate that risk as much as possible with Koto’s Air sensor cube. At just 2 inches on all sides, Koto’s air sensor monitors light, temperature, humidity, dust, noise, and air pollution and keeps you informed by connecting via Bluetooth directly to your smartphone. When the air sensor notices a decrease in humidity or stale air, it can send you an alert to let you know you need to open a window or switch on a humidifier. While the cube isn’t available for immediate purchase, you can pre-order online now.
If you’re looking to get swoll and want to measure your progress, stop wasting time with measuring tapes and approximate indicators like weight or reps. Use the quick and easy technology behind Skulpt instead. According to the company, “The Skulpt Scanner uses a highly accurate scientific method, Composition Myography (CM), to measure your actual muscle quality and body fat percentage directly.” Skulpt will send the results directly to an app on your phone and will indicate what muscle groups need extra training and what groups are right on track. You can compare your latest results with past measurements to let you see your progress over time. The Skulpt can measure 12 different muscles: biceps, triceps, shoulders, forearms, chest, abs, upper back, lower back, quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes–all of which are important for overall health, not to mention looking good without a shirt.
Withings Cardio Scale $180
Arguably the world’s most advanced at-home scale, Withings’ Cardio will not only tell you your weight, BMI, body fat percentage, water percentage, muscle mass and bone mass, but will also give you a reading on your cardiovascular health using pulse wave velocity measurements. All data is synced directly to your profile on Withings’ Health Mate app, giving you access to your past results and readings. To top it all off, the scale can last a full 12 months on only one overnight charge and can also display weather and temperature when connected to Wifi, so you can start mentally picking out your outfit during your morning weigh-in.
Fitbit Surge $250
The Fitbit Surge is a simple smart health tracking device worn on the wrist throughout the course of the day. And while this may not be the most fashionable or visibly high-tech smart watch on the market, it makes up for its aesthetic poverty by being packed full of useful applications and features. The Surge, like all other Fitbits, has an automatic continuous heart rate monitor that syncs wirelessly to your smartphone or desktop, enabling you to access your data not only on the watch, but anywhere you have internet access. For runners, the Surge’s GPS tracker analyzes and tracks your pace, time, distance, elevation climbed, and can even measure split-times. You can even check how well you’re sleeping. With a seven day non-GPS battery life and a 10 hour battery life when using the GPS tracker, the Surge lasts a little longer than some of its competitors. And with accompanying app, Surge provides full-spectrum fitness help. You can view progress, record workouts, share and compete with friends and family, log your food intake, and push yourself and your fitness to the next level. The Surge is water-resistant as well, so don’t fear taking it for a run in the rain. Just don’t go swimming with it.
Under Armour Health Box $350
Under Armour’s health box is full-spectrum fitness tracking package that includes two wearables: an activity tracking bracelet and a heart rate tracking strap, along with a smart scale. All three devices sync together with Under Armour’s Record app which collects and analyzes your health data throughout the day. The bracelet monitors total steps, activity levels, sleep, and can also display phone notifications and function as an alarm clock and workout log. The heart rate strap is worn around the chest next to the skin and monitors heart rate in real-time, instantly syncing with the bracelet so you have a constantly updated display version of your own heart beat. It can also measure calories burned and the intensity of your workout-based on your respiration. The smart scale, like many others, measures weight and body fat percentage and is capable of identifying different users by weight alone. Altogether, the Health Box is cheaper than buying all the respective devices individually and since they’re all designed to sync up with one another, this is one of the most user-friendly, easy to set-up, fitness tracking box out there.