Nike+ was a super sweet tool for runners to keep track of their workouts. But what about the rest of your life? What if Nike+ could keep track of that? That's what the brand new Nike+ Fuelband, an evolution of Nike+ in a simple Livestrong-styled wristband, tries to do.
The idea of wearing something to track your fitness activity in everyday life isn't exactly new. Fitbit's done it with some success, Jawbone spectacularly failed at it and there are so many fitness watches you can wear it on every one of your appendages. But Nike+ Fuelband is a slightly different beast, its goal is to provide one simple measurement for every kind of activity. How does it work?
It doesn't count steps. It doesn't ticker miles. What's unique about Nike+ Fuelband is that it uses "oxygen kinetics" to figure out the amount of oxygen you're using and then translates that input/output into a "universal currency" named Nikefuel. Everyone, whether you're a basketball player or a football player or a life player or a PC game player, is measured with Nikefuel. The more active things you do in a day means the more Nikefuel you earn in a day. Nike says that they've correlated oxygen intake with specific fitness activities and then found a way to translate it to Nikefuel. Basically, it's a smart and Nike-branded algorithm that brings everyone onto the same unit of measurement. It's a clever idea, as balancing the differences of various activities (sprint, jog, etc) can provide the token to improve overall fitness since you're gunning for the same goal (a Nikefuel benchmark).
The Fuelband looks like a bulked up Livestrong band that has LED lights to display your progress (red is bad, green is good), show the time and has a snazzy hidden USB port. It's all controlled by one button so the Fuelband is dead simple to use. It connects to your iPhone wirelessly via Bluetooth and to the Nike+ webapp when you plug in the band. When I wore it, it was actually pretty comfortable—surprisingly cool and light on the wrist and simple to use (one button wizardry). Nike says the battery can last 4 days on a single charge and that it'll talk nice to Facebook, Foursquare and Path. Sadly, the Fuelband isn't available on these shores yet. Across the pond it will cost $150 and start shipping on February 22nd.