As the festive bulge looms, how far will you go to get fit?

  • Technology
  • December 10, 2015
  • Erin McKenzie
As the festive bulge looms, how far will you go to get fit?

The upcoming New Year's resolutions may be easier to achieve thanks to athletic polar bears, vibrating belts, smart socks and maybe even wearable bananas. 

A polar bear isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when trying to find motivation to exercise, but two Brazilian admen hope it will have the desired result for kids, having just launched a Kickstarter campaign for their new app.

'Jack - The Athlete Polar Bear' app is designed to encourage children and teens to live a more active lifestyle by requiring them to work out in order to keep their digital pet polar bear healthy too. But there’s no cheating because the user's smartphone GPS and motion sensors will be keeping tabs (unless, like some, you attach it to your dog). 

Gamification is a well-established way of getting people to do things they might not want to (we're all for temptation bundling at the StopPress towers). And in a release, app creator Romulo Caballero said that while technology is one of the major causes of a sedentary lifestyle for young people, at the same time, electronic devices are part of everyone's routine, including children and teens.

"We believe that fighting against technology is not worth it in this case. That's why we use technology as an ally, in a fun way. It’s an idea that also helps parents that are worried about their children's health."

In the age of the quantified self, we are increasingly able to chart our progress. Spark predicted a future ten years from now where you could bring up your health data on the fridge. Apple's latest phone included additional health-related tracking features. And, as the innovations below show, there are many other wearable technologies that can help you get through life. 

Who wants to carry around a smartphone when you could don some Athos gear? 

Temporary Tattoo Fitness Sensors can collect fitness data on muscular exertion, fatigue, hydration level, electrolyte balance and muscular degradation. The tattoos are paired with an armband to send the information to a smart device for analysis and tracking.


Sensoria Fitness Socks measure steps, speed, calories burned, altitude and distance while communicate with an iPhone app to log activities and guide users with audio cues while they run. The socks also monitor foot landing techniques and weight distribution as users walk and run.

Lumo Lift aims to boost posture while users sit and walk around. While tracking steps, calories and distance the tracker buzzes to remind the user to sit up or stand tall if they slouch (other apps like Moment let you know when you've been spending too long with your phone).

For the more fashion forward fitness fanatics Shine Fitness and Sleep Monitor tracks walking, running, sleeping, swimming, cycling and more. The necklace can be synced to the user’s smartphone to see steps, calories and distance.



For those who don’t like exercise but want to lose some weight, “Belty” has the solution. The belt will vibrate when it determines you have eaten too much and send signals to a smartphone when the user is sedentary for too long (not recommended over Christmas). 

And at the extreme end of the spectrum, why not pimp your fruit. Earlier this year, Dole Japan gave two runners in the Tokyo Marathon some extra support with wearable bananas. The banana incorporated an LED screen and sensors embedded beneath the fruit’s peel to give the runners messages of support from Twitter, their running time and heart rate as well as informing them when to eat a banana. Like a Fitbit, the bananas were strapped to the runners' wrists.

But why stop at things you need to strap on or wear when you could create a new body part* to strap something onto. 

*If the Onion had its way.

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