Wearables Proliferate at CES

The Fitbit Blaze has many similar features to the Apple Watch. Photo by Lauren Popovich.
Written by Lauren Popovich

By Lauren Popovich
BU News Service

Wearables are once again featured throughout CES, from fitness giant Fitbit to well-known designers such as the Fossil watch company, innovative and familiar designs were on display.

Is Fitbit trying to give Apple a run for its money with the all-new Fitbit Blaze? The Blaze, which looks similar in design to the Apple Watch, comes in a lot cheaper, starting at just $199. Much like the Apple Watch, the Blaze is available in a variety of colorful sport bands in addition to new sleek leather bands or metal link bands and frames. In addition to Fitbit’s existing fitness-tracking application, the Blaze will have the capability to receive calendar alerts, text notifications and calls, and connect to the user’s favorite smartphone apps.

Fitbit's colorful lineup introduced a new product to CES: the Fitbit Blaze. Photo by Lauren Popovich.

Fitbit’s colorful lineup introduced a new product to CES: the Fitbit Blaze. Photo by Lauren Popovich.

Unlike the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Blaze’s main focus is fitness. It will not include a plethora of on-screen applications to download straight to the watch. Rather, it has the capability to be linked to fitness applications such as Runkeeper on a smartphone.

Different from the traditional wearable, VERT unveiled its new VERT 2 that is specifically designed for intense athletes.

The all-new VERT 2 will measure total Gs, high and low intensity counts, surges per minute, highest acceleration (Gs) and average peak acceleration (Gs.)

With all the buzz surrounding new wearables this year, fitness brand Mio believes it has a feature that will set it apart and above the other brands.

VERT 2 is a wearable designed for high intensity athletes. Photo by Lauren Popovich.

VERT 2 is a wearable designed for high intensity athletes. Photo by Lauren Popovich.

Mio announced a new device and a new way of individualizing data from wearables. The company’s SLICE activity tracker will implement a new algorithm that Mio has invented called Personal Activity Intelligence Index, or PAI.

PAI is Mio's newest algorithm used to calculate movement beyond steps or distance traveled. Photo by Lauren Popovich.

PAI is Mio’s newest algorithm used to calculate movement beyond steps or distance traveled. Photo by Lauren Popovich.

A user’s PAI score is continuously measured and calculated based on the previous seven days of heart rate data. So, this means that users do not need to complete a high-intensity workout every day of the week. Lost PAI can easily be made up.

Another approach to the wearable arena was shown by Valencell, a leader in biometric data sensor technology. The company announced that it will map the ability to accurately estimate blood pressure using an all-optical method that does not require a blood pressure cuff or calibration.

Valencell revealed their new line of products, featuring devices that measure your heart rate without the use of a cuff.

Valencell revealed their new line of products at CES 2016.

This new application of biometric sensor technology, currently still under development by Valencell, will ultimately enable users to estimate blood pressure without having to use a blood pressure cuff, and with sufficient accuracy to assess the need for medical interventions, per the American Medical Association’s clinical guidelines for hypertension.

 

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