Getting in shape doesn't have to be a high-tech affair. It's pretty easy to lace up a pair of shoes and start jogging down the street or to grab a basketball and head to the local park.
But as people begin to take their training more seriously, whether they're looking to fit into clothes that have become a bit too tight or prepare for a marathon, they're looking for help from the consumer electronics world. The wearable fitness tech market is expected to reach $12.4 billion in the United States by 2022, according to MarketsandMarkets, an independent research firm.
It's not surprising that new products are constantly being unveiled to meet consumer demand. At this year's CES, nearly 100 companies were on hand showing off everything from new wearable fitness monitors to virtual reality training programs. Here's some of what was on display.
Wearables usually stick to traditional sports, not things like boxing. But French start-up Piq has partnered with Everlast to launch the Robot — a device that measures things like the speed of a punch and the impact it carries. Boxers can monitor their progress from their smartphone and adjust their training routines to improve faster. The device will be available at the end of February.
Most smart clothes aren't especially comfortable for long periods. The wires and sensors in them don't make for something you'd want to sleep in. E-Skin's a bit different. Equipped with 14 sensors, it's fairly easy to wear. And those sensors record the movements and help you monitor your form as you train for an event. (The clothing line can also be used for motion capture and sleep monitoring, according to the company.) Created by Japanese start-up Xenoma, the shirt will go on sale worldwide around the middle of the year.
The sports clothing company is stepping into the smart shoe category with these running shoes. Track and store data — ranging from your time and distance to splits and duration — without having to carry your phone or have a more traditional wearable bouncing on your wrist. They go on sale this February. (The company is taking pre-orders now on its website.)
Google Glass failed to take off, in part because it was a bit too creepy-looking. But now three companies, including one that makes glasses for brands such as Dior and Hugo Boss, are teaming up to introduce glasses that include brainwave-sensing EEG, EOG and EMG technology to deliver cognitive-training technology, along with a slew of other features.
Eyewear company Smith says the product, which will be out in the third quarter and is officially called "Smith's Lowdown Focus Mpowered by Muse," will give wearers added energy and focus before they do something like run a 10K or launch into their daily workout. The company has not released an anticipated price point.
The company that revolutionized in-home bike fitness classes is branching out, building a new model exclusively designed for commercial customers. That means that interactive exercise bikes that let people pedal along with live-streamed workout routines are on the way to businesses, like hotels, fitness centers and universities. And that in turn could boost sales of company's existing home devices (which cost $1,995 plus a $39 per month subscription fee).
The company also unveiled a partnership with Fitbit at CES, which will see the wearables sync directly with existing Peloton devices. Pricing for the commercial units has not yet been announced.
Beyond its entry into smart shoes, Under Armour is working with Tom Brady to develop a line of sleepwear that helps athletes recover from the stress they put on their bodies. It uses something called TB12 technology, meaning the print on the inside of the PJs absorbs natural heat from your body and reflects what's called "Far infrared" back to the skin.
According to the company, this both speeds up recovery and lets you sleep better. The shirts and pants (sold separately and available now) cost between $60 and $100 each.
Brain science and fitness were a popular duo this year at CES. Halo Sport is a device that athletes, including some Olympians, use to increase their performance. It looks like a set of headphones — and includes that functionality — but it also claims to activate the brain's motor cortex, which means the communication between the brain and muscles are improved, resulting in a better workout.
There are plenty of high-tech add-ons for racing bikes, but there haven't been many that built them into the bike themselves. The Unicorn is a bike that both geeks and jocks can appreciate. It's loaded with high-tech touches, including a 2.2-inch touchscreen that monitors things like heart rate, distance, the slope you're riding on, cadence and calories burned. It also has a built-in GPS.
The bike itself boasts a Toray carbon fiber frame and reportedly weighs less than 2 pounds. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee. Currently on Kickstarter (where it has surpassed its goal), it is expected to be out in April.
The accuracy of heart-rate monitoring smart watches has been questioned extensively in the past few years, but Suunto hopes to quell those with the Spartan Sport Wrist HR. Featuring an optical heart-rate sensor from Valencell, a highly respected company in the field, the Spartan is meant for people who work out regularly. (The sensor won't monitor in any mode beyond "workout.")
The heart-rate monitor will be in addition to existing features, including the ability to track activity across 80 different sports, GPS-route navigation and smartphone integration. The watch itself is a bit clunky, but for people who enjoy power exercises, the increased accuracy could be worth the trade-off. It will be available for purchase this spring.