Nike FuelBand Counts Calories from Your Wrist

January 20, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

You run up to your coach and he says, “You haven’t worked out enough!”. What do you do?

You show him your Nike band. You read it right.

Nike has introduced  a high-tech wristband that would answer your coach’s energy questions. Named as The FuelBand, the gadget shows the amount of calories burned and the amount of steps taken.

Now, devices claiming to display such measures are not novel in the market, but what makes the FuelBand unique is the NikFuel. NikeFuel is the way to compare the different activities done through one metric.

Whatever you do, whether that is running, swimming, dancing or shooting a few baskets, they all earn points. Nike has come up with a way to measure the intensity of various actions and records the corresponding motions in order to create formulas to determine how much NikeFuel should be awarded, like after you take a lap in your pool.

NikeFuel doesn’t include stuff like your weight, which would affect the number of calories used. Patty Freedson, the chair of the kinesiology department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, said that would make it more difficult to compare the work done by different people.

“If a person is moving a certain amount and they weigh 100 pounds, a 200-pound person who weighs more actually expends more energy,” she said. Scientists who study physical activity having been calculating similar processes to measure the expended energy with devices called accelerometers.

But Nike won’t release details about it’s calculations due to competitive reasons, so there is no way for outside researchers to decide whether NikeFuel provides accurate measures. The FuelBand is a flexible black strip with a single button and it weighs between .95 and 1.24 ounces depending on the size.

The gadget can be synchronized with the Nike+ workout-tracking website through a built-in USB or you can connect it via  Bluetooth to a free iPhone app. The fun with having to score points is that they can set goals of how many points to earn in a day and compare it with their friends through social networking.

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