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Wearable technology evolves beyond simple activity trackers to improve your health

Yoga tights that correct poses and a smart bottle that recommends and adds supplements to your water are among the latest developments

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 February, 2016, 10:17am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2016, 5:34pm

Over the years, fitness trackers have largely been limited to monitoring quantifiable actions, such as the number of steps taken, the distance of a run, or the average speed of a cyclist. Now, this wearable technology is evolving to also focus on improving the quality and technique of such actions.

New York-based Wearable Experiments (WE) aims to fuse functional design with technology. The company views fashion as an “untapped resource” for individuals to stay connected in a practical way. The company’s latest development is Nadi, a line of yoga tights designed to correct posture and form during practice by utilising “haptic” technology, which re-creates the sense of touch through vibrations in the clothing.

“As someone who doesn’t always know the correct form or alignment in poses, I find having that proper guidance is crucial,” says Billie Whitehouse, WE’s co-founder and CEO. “As a lifestyle product, Nadi not only acts as that guide, but also integrates into your everyday life, reminding you of something as simple as uncrossing your legs while sitting down.”

The Nadi tights adjust the intensity and frequency of its haptic vibrations in real time according to the posture or pose, which works in parallel with an app (available for Apple and Android) which explains exactly which areas require adjustment to achieve optimum goals. The tights are able to identify the required range of movement, as well as track the angles of each pose, which register on the app as it offers a variety of yoga positions.

Where does the name for this new product come from? “Nadis are energy pathways throughout the body which were detailed thousands of years ago as part of traditional Indian medicine,” explains Jon Bond, a Jivamukti yoga teacher and general manager at the personal training gym Ultimate Performance HK. “Nadis transport prana - breath which is considered as an energy- or life-giving force - the Western equivalent would be how the nervous system works.”

Another hi-tech tool to help ensure a healthy year is the LifeFuels smart bottle - winner of the CES 2016 Innovation Award. The company offers a streamlined solution to tracking, measuring and having easy access to your daily nutritional supplements in one portable system accompanied by a smartphone app.

This BPA-free bottle tracks not only your hydration levels, but also works together with activity trackers to recommend what vitamins or minerals your body requires at what time for optimum effectiveness. Supplements such as vitamins, minerals, whey protein, energy, superfoods, coconut water, electrolytes, and even tea or coffee are attached in compact 1oz canisters, or “FuelPods”, on top of the bottle, which can easily be dispensed into the water at the push of a button. Each FuelPod contains as many as 25 servings, and five canisters can be attached to each LifeFuels bottle.

The LifeFuels bottle is charged through a wireless coaster and connects to the app via Bluetooth 4.0, which means your phone’s battery won’t be drained. Once a FuelPod is inserted, the bottle instantly recognises the supplement and updates the app accordingly. The app aims to track what you put into your body, while also factoring in fitness readings such as steps taken and heart rate. Tailor-made recommendations from registered dieticians are also available through the app.