Tuesday 18 November 2014

It's not just a watch.

In November I went to Brighton for a one day mobile testing training. This subject is getting interesting to follow, not because it's the future, but because it's the present, just that many choose to live in the past.

One of the things we talked about was the future of mobile devices, and here it seems that we will face three tendencies.
New phones, with new features, screen resolutions, sensors, operation systems and so on..
RFID sensors everywhere, at supermarkets, trains, stores, cars...
Wereable devices, and here comes my story...

Two months ago I needed to change my watch. My old Casio broke its glass and water was making the way to the inside case, getting it difficult to read, so after searching a bit around, I decided to get a Garmin VivoFit.

And, just for trying it out nicely, I got a spare one for my wife, so we both started experimenting with this wereable device.

The gadget is basically a pedometer that you wear in your wrist and also gives you the time of the day, so I didn’t have to get a new watch. But it does some other things too.

It has a little red bar, that comes out when I been sitting down for more than 1 hour, warning me that I should start thinking about getting myself back on the move.
It also keeps track of how many steps I been taking, and every day he suggest a goal, based on my previous days, so I know how many steps I am missing for the day.

These features can be useless if you decide to ignore them, but if you don’t, they keep you walking to the office and not taking the elevator when you get back home.

...And when you set up your age and weight, it can calculate the calories you are burning as you go, so you have a measure about how you are doing today. Here is where the fun starts.

To put it simple, let’s say that our body needs calories to burn in order to perform any activity, so, it burns calories when we walk, when we run, but it stops burning calories when we sit down for a while.

Available calories can be refilled into our body by eating and drinking, but some food has more calories than others, so water has none, fruit has a few, cookies and soda have a lot of them. If you eat too much and exercise too little, you body has to keep these calories somewhere, as I noticed last summer when I had to get a new pair of jeans with a larger waist size.

So the point here is to keep track of how much you are burning and refilling, just to know where you stand.

Still this gadget doesn’t measure it all, because it’s a simple pedometer, it can not detect when you are cycling, or swimming… for these I use Endomondo so whenever I choose to ride the bike I can still keep track on how much sugar I might be burning.

This is cool to keep track of the burnt calories, so what about the ones I am eating?

For that we found MyFitnessPal, a nice collaborative app where you can keep track of what you are eating and how many calories that is supposed to contain.

And the great thing here is that these 3 apps can sync together. At the end of the day, I can get a estimated balance about how I am doing.

Off course, all this is based on guesstimations, but it’s okay as long you are aware, I just want to know if I been walking too little, or eating too much, I don't need too much precision on this.

Some people have healthy habits, they understood time ago, that if they wanted to keep fit, they needed to watch out what they were eating, and they also needed to do some exercise, I think this gadget can be pretty useless for them.

But for us, my wife and me, it quite helps having a little control of how we are doing, and once we got some numbers, we started walking a bit more and eating a bit less.

This is the start of our journey into the wereables, two devices and three apps that communicates with each other, storing information in the cloud and providing information to users across many platforms, and this is just the beginning, just wait and see.

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