Friday, April 18, 2008 - Ehud Rattner
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The Nike+ Sportband is very similar to another product by Nike, known as the iPod Nike kit. The new accessory looks like a regular wristband, but contains a microchip that analyzes the athlete's status. A small transmitter is inserted into the athlete’s shoe and after entering the user's details – height, weight, age – the device calculates the calories consumed, the number of steps, the distance covered, and other useful information.
Operation of the Nike+ Sportband is fairly simple: a single start/stop button is used for both operations. The display indicates the battery status, and the different status modes can be switched using another button. The small transmitter sends signals with every step. Part of the watch embedded in the wristband is a detachable USB connector, which can (when connected to a PC) transfer the data to nikeplus.com, a website dedicated to athletes all around the world – and especially to runners. The site contains information, recommended running programs, and advice from fellow runners. Of course, the main purpose is selling Nike products, and the website is designed accordingly.
The software provided with the wristband can help beginners to get into a training routine by using the online personal trainer. The personal trainer can prepare the runner for a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, or full-marathon run. The tracking of time, distance, and calorie consumption, helps the user maintain a healthy workout plan without overloading. Since the wristband can store information on up to 16 hours of running, the user can transfer the data to the computer once in two or three weeks, depending on his rate of practices.
The new product was developed in order to meet the growing demand for a substitute to the existing iPod-based accessory, which requires users to purchase Apple's iPod. With the growing community of Nike runners, the Nike+ sportband has a good chance of becoming the next trend, although even the retailer price is not cheap - 40 pounds (just under $80).
TFOT has covered the Cricket, a wrist Phone/MP3 player which has a unique design, and the ZYPAD WL 1000, a wrist-wearable computer designed to provide instant access to computing capabilities while carrying out tasks in the field. Another story about technological 'wristbands' is the Sector Watch, a concept timekeeper developed to be a fashionable and highly functional device, capable of displaying images, video messages, and GPS information.