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CES 2011: BodyMedia Fit, My Best of Show

by Tom Moccia | January 24, 2011January 24, 2011 4:00 am PDT

My trip to the Consumer Electronics Show each year never ceases to amaze me. and now that I have had some time to research and evaluate all the products I saw, it’s time to reveal what I feel was the most innovative product in Vegas.

There was a ton of great stuff: tablets, cool high def televisions, phones that are computers and computers that are phones, but none of them impressed me more than this product. This product won’t alert you of great deals in town or wow you with high density pixels, what it will do is improve your quality of life for you and your loved ones.

BodyMedia is a company that has dedicated their research and development to improving people’s fitness level one person at a time. BodyMedia Fit is a health management system primarily focused at weight loss but can benefit anyone who wants to learn more about their personal physiology.

The system consists of an armband with or without Bluetooth connectivity, online activity manager and a free downloadable Android or iPhone app. The Armband is a sophisticated device consisting of two metallic sensors that collect an abundance of information with what is called Galvanic Skin Response. Simply stated, when you sweat, your skin becomes more electrically conductive which helps track how active you are. The sensor will also measure skin temperature at the surface, heat flux, or the rate at which heat dissipates from the body and finally a three-axis accelerometer measuring motion and steps taken. The sensor captures 5000 plus readings every minute of every day whether you are running a marathon, or watching a Gilligan’s Island marathon.

Now that all your activities are being tracked automatically you do need to do a little bit of work and enter the food you eat into the food log via your computer or mobile application. Now you have calories consumed and calories burned, the two major determinants of weight loss.

All this information is vital to effective weight loss, but none of it means anything unless you can process it and learn from the data. This is where BodyMedia Fit excels in an easy and simple form. With the standard model, simply plug the armband into your computer and upload the data for easy analyzing of beautiful graphs and charts.

The next feature was where I was blown away. If you implement the Bluetooth enabled armband and the mobile application you will get near real time statistical updates, about once every minute. These can be important details when making decisions throughout the day, should I walk up the stairs to my meeting on the fifth floor or take the elevator? Should I park a bit further away from the store and walk or can I afford to take the close parking spot? Do I have the calorie budget to have a sandwich for lunch or should I go with the salad? All this data will help you reach your fitness goals more quickly and help educate yourself on your individual physiology.

How is this different from accelerometers, pedometers and heart rate monitors alone? See the chart below for a simple and very understandable comparison.

The standard armband retails for $199, and if you choose to add the optional display it will add $57.90. The Bluetooth version, which I think is the better option of the two simply because of real time tracking on your Smartphone, retails for $249. The mobile applications are free and there are ranges of subscription choices for the online activity manager ranging from $6.95 per month on a yearly subscription, to $12.95 per month on a monthly basis.

Education is the key to healthy living and with the lack of nutritional education in our schools combined with the U.S. fast food fascination; BodyMedia Fit is about educating individuals about their own physiology. Once someone learns how their body works and the effect certain conditions have on their body, it will be much easier to move toward their fitness goals. BodyMedia Fit does all that and helps people reach the desired fitness level faster and more efficiently.

Any product that makes it easier for families to lead healthier lives is a winner for me and BodyMedia Fit impressed me more than any other product at CES this year.


Tom Moccia

Tom Moccia is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and moved his family west in 2000 and now calls Stockton, California home with his wife and two...

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