Last week, I decided to get myself a new Nike+ SportBand. I have absolutely no idea as to where my first one went, but I haven't really needed one since I lost it as I haven't played football regularly since. It was great for tracking how much I ran during a game, much better than strapping an iPod to yourself considering how physical some encounters can get.
Before I settled on the SportBand, I was very intrigued by the FuelBand. Currently speculation suggest it might cost £150, in comparison to the £30 I spent on a SportBand, that's a lot of cash!
I was actually willing to wait for the FuelBand and even stump up the cash for it, thinking it would give me an incentive to climb more stairs and get a little more active during the day. The big draw back really came down to cycling. If it measures you're activity during the day, but can't measure how much effort you've put into cycling, what's the point?
That was the single biggest problem I had with the device. Fine, on a cycling machine, there's practicly no movement, but out on the road, people cycle for hours at a time but if it counted for nothing, how accurate would it actually be.
So I opted to go the for the SportBand. Now,
I'm not unhappy with that decision. There's so much more I can do with the £120 I saved, but I really thought about the issue and found it odd that Nike featured a segway as a way to get 'fuel' in their first promo video for the FuelBand and both a BMX-er and a skateboarder in subsequent introduction video.
Rather than relying on a sensor in your shoe, limiting you to activities, it now relies on an accelerator, which most people have commented will only measure movement covered by your arm. That would make cycling pretty damn hard to track when your arms are near enough stationary for long periods of time. Nike have actually thought about that and included a 3D accelerometer. This, like the iPhone and iPod touch (and iPad?) lets you measure what I assume are g-forces, not just on a X or Y plane, but on the X, Y AND Z planes. BMW have already taken advantage of this with their iOS app and finally another manufacturer is putting the technology to good use!
To be fair, Nike have actually commented on the FuelBand's suitability for cycling and while they're conservative, I'd guess it does a better job at measuring the force you generate while cycling than they'd lead you to believe.