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September 2006


Garmin vs Timex vs Nike+iPod
An AP writer compares the Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS personal training device with the Timex Bodylink:

Forerunner matches Bodylink in basic features and accuracy, and it bests the Timex system as a training buddy. Try to keep up with a Virtual Partner at a specified pace; add speed training by alternating between periods of intensity and rest.

Navigation is also better. The Forerunner automatically remembers your starting point and can give you the path back - not the shortest point across a pond, as Bodylink sometimes does.

That said, the input buttons are clunky, and more importantly, the Forerunner tends to have the most GPS troubles, especially in New York.

...It's a close call, but Timex gets my vote for city running, even though Garmin can do much more - it can even display sunset time based on your GPS position. Many mornings, I barely make it out of bed, and I'd prefer not spending precious minutes waiting for a GPS signal.

Then he looked at the Nike+iPod Sport Kit:

The device is quite limited in what it displays. You get current pace, but not the average until you finish, nor can you record split times, something core to most sports watches.

My biggest beef is the requirement for Nike shoes.

For one, Nike didn't have a "Plus" model yet for flat-footed runners like me who need extra stability. Within days, my left foot started aching - perhaps a coincidence, perhaps not.

...I may ultimately buy the Nike/iPod system as a backup, but for Sunday's Wineglass Marathon in Corning, N.Y., I'll be going solo with Timex - all 46,000-plus footsteps in my non-Nike shoes.

September 28th, 2006



More Remote Health Monitoring
I find this kind of development fascinating:

Intel is testing products that can monitor the health of individuals remotely and send alerts over the internet to a doctor if it believes the wearer is in danger.

The project, part of its Human Activity Recognition research, is now ready to roll out in its first test phase, and will be used by 40 old people living in Washington State from early next year – rising to 100 in 2008. The iBracelet is, as the name suggests, worn around the wrist and when used in conjunction with RFID tags, can send data to health carers via a base station.

In the up-coming test, everyday products, such as milk, cups, kettles, tablet bottles, will be tagged. Every time the wearer of the iBracelet comes in contact with one of these products, it will send a signal to the bracelet. This information can then be stored on the bracelet’s 2MB of flash memory and sent once a week to a doctor, or sent immediately.

Health officials can then get a picture of what the wearer is eating or drinking, and whether they are taking their medication. Intel admits the system is not fool-proof, and that just because a person picks up a pack of tea, for instance, does not mean that they made a drink.

But it monitors what other actions the person takes, and how for long. This is compared to a database of roughly how long these actions (such as making a cup of tea) should take. It also learns from how long the person usually takes to do such things.

September 27th, 2006

Medwave's Fusion Blood Pressure Monitor Approved
Medwave has announced that it has received FDA approval of its new blood pressure monitor:

The noninvasive system, called Fusion, is a completely sensor-based blood pressure monitor with a vital signs option. Fusion takes blood pressure and vital signs readings at the wrist, and, the company said, its accuracy is comparable to arterial catheters.

Shares of Medwave rose 41 cents, or 30 percent, to $1.79 on the Nasdaq in afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $1.32 and $3.69 over the last 52 weeks.

September 21st, 2006


Omron's Latest Body Fat Monitor
A press release introduces Omron's HBF-400 body fat monitor:

The HBF-400 displays body fat percentage measurements in 0.1% increments and has a weight capacity of up to 330 pounds. With a four-person profile memory plus guest mode, the monitor displays a person's previous reading for easy reference in tracking fat-loss progress. The HBF-400 will be available on local drugstore shelves and online and will retail for approximately $49.99.

I hope to write more on it soon.
September 18th, 2006


The Talking Medicine Cabinet
Last week I wrote of the "hospital bed of the future" (scroll down), from a New York Times article. Now Newsday reports on how "inventions are ready to revolutionize the way baby boomers monitor their health.

One day soon, you may hear your medicine cabinet talking, and it won't be because you've lost your mind.

The Online Medicine Cabinet recognizes faces, speaks if you mistakenly grab the wrong pill bottle, checks the pollen level, sends your doctor readings from the attached blood pressure monitor and all but swallows your pill for you.

...Merging technology and boomer consumerism, as in the medicine cabinet, promises a bonanza of "smart" devices to transform health care, starting with tailored checkups at home and going all the way to solutions for the nationwide crisis of the uninsured. Pilot programs already have been testing the logistical, health and social impact of various inventions. Their common goal: Support "health security" and the independent lifestyle that boomers envision for themselves, their children and their aging parents.

"The biggest promise is that we'll shift health care concerns from a once-a-year checkup or an emergency room situation to a kind of everyday life situation through everyday devices," said Eric Dishman, head of Intel's Proactive Health Strategic Research Project. "There's this consistent message from boomer-age people: 'I want to be the pilot of my own body. I want to manage my own health and wellness.'"

September 18th, 2006



More on the iPod Breathalyzer
A couple of days ago I mentioned (scroll down) the iPod breathalyzer. Now everyone's onto the story.

Here's Sci Fi Tech:

Just fold out the little straw and blow for five seconds to see if you're drunk enough to have an excuse to be listening to Journey or if you really just have lousy taste. It seems strange that a breathalyzer would double as an FM transmitter, as once you determine that you're too soused to drive you can stream your music to your car stereo. Wha? In any case, if you're drinking so often that you think a personal breathalyzer is a worthwhile investment, perhaps you should spend that money on a cab to get your drunken ass to AA.


I've been writing about iPod accessories since the beginning of time, and this is no doubt the best one I've ever seen. Call me an alcoholic, but having a breathalyzer is pretty damn important. A breathalyzer is the perfect device to determine how ugly of a girl you can take home that night and still be considered okay—oh and it can determine the legal limit for driving, too.


You know that people are trying to jump on the iPod bandwagon when someone releases a breathalyzer that connects to the ubiquitous music player....Sticking out of the side of the device is the breathalyzer tube, and within five seconds it'll read out your blood alchohol content level, accurate to within 0.01 BAC -- oh and if that wasn't enough, it doubles as an FM transmitter for your car stereo. That just leaves us with one burning question: will Mr. Steele be sending one to recently DUIed Paris Hilton?

And Slash Gear:

The iPod accessories industry is a big business, and we’ve seen many weird ones such as iPod toilet paper docking. Introducing another weird accessories for your iPod called iBreath, an add-on to your iPod featuring a Breathalyzer and FM wireless transmitter.
September 13th, 2006


The $10,000 Thermometer
A thermometer that monitors a child at regular intervals and warns a parent if the temperature gets too high - it's a new product idea that has just won a bunch of high school entrepreneurs a big prize:

For most high school sophomores, the usual Saturday morning consists of sleeping in or sports practice. But for four 16-year-old boys from Newton and Wellesley, the time was spent learning about the business world and winning $10,000 for their idea for a thermometer.

The device would automatically take a child's temperature and warn the parents if it gets too high.

...Their solution involved a patch placed in the child's armpit that takes temperatures at regular intervals, and then sends them to a watch-like device. The device warns the parents if the temperature passes a certain threshold.

September 12th, 2006


Breathalyzer - the Music
Scroll down this web page of New Zealand music events to learn of the world premiere on September 23rd of Breathalyzer, from the Manukau City Symphony Orchestra:

The world premiere of John Rimmer's Breathalyzer, inspired by an encounter with a police breath-testing unit in central Auckland at 10am on a weekday morning, has police watching the orchestra closely. Mr Rimmer comments on his new work, commissioned by MCSO with the financial assistance of Creative New Zealand: 'The mood of the piece varies from degrees of anxiety as if a guilty verdict were about to be delivered to a joyful, romping exuberance, a relief perhaps from a negative breathalyzer test result.'
September 12th, 2006


Hospital Bed of the Future
The hospital bed and waiting room of the future is your home, says a fascinating New York Times article on home electronic health monitors that can be remotely monitored by doctors.

The centerpiece of her system is an implanted device that regulates her heartbeat, delivers lifesaving shocks when necessary, and wirelessly communicates with her doctors via the Internet.

The same communications system is also linked to her blood-pressure monitor and a bedside electronic scale. By remotely watching data on her condition for signs of the next potentially life-threatening development, her doctors have occasionally been able to change her heart medications in time to let Mrs. Huntoon avoid yet another trip to the hospital.

...“It’s about just-in-time medicine, instead of just-in-case,” said Dr. Adam Darkins, a care coordination expert at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which oversees the Veterans Health Administration.

The department is currently using relatively simple home monitoring devices to help manage the treatment of nearly 14,000 military veterans suffering from heart disease, depression, diabetes and post-traumatic stress disorder, Dr. Darkins said. It plans to expand to 21,000 patients by October.

The many companies betting on remote-monitoring medical technology include makers of implantable devices like Medtronic, instrument companies like Honeywell and Philips, and countless hardware and software companies ranging from start-ups to giants like Intel.

September 11th, 2006

The iPod Breathalyzer
A breathless press release announces the iBreath iPod Breathalyzer with FM wireless transmitter:

The innovation called the iBreath® is an iPod accessory that includes a fully functioning breathalyzer and an iPod FM transmitter that transmits your iPod tunes to any FM tuner. It’s expected to be one of the hottest selling items this holiday season with the perfect combination of entertainment and safety already garnering significant buzz.

You can read more (and buy it) at David Steele Enterprises.
September 11th, 2006 



Just How Drunk
The website contains a feature, "Just How Drunk is Steve-O?" It's about someone named Steve-O testing the AlcoHawk Micro breathalyzer. Or, as the website says:

So what did the shirtless wonder Steve-O think of this product? Our brave tester informed us that he "went to war with a bottle of vodka" before giving the AlcoHawk a try.

The result? I don't know. You have to watch an online video, and it wouldn't work on my computer.
September 7th, 2006


Smart Start
The Laramie Boomerang (lovely name for a newspaper) carries an interesting report on the Smart Start program, which involves attaching a breathalyzer to a car ignition, so that the car won't start if the driver has been drinking. You can read more here about Smart Start.
September 4th, 2006


Pedometer Quick Links
* "Imagine a little $20 gadget that, just by wearing it, made you move. A pedometer is just that — a device that rides with you, counting your steps throughout the day, nudging you ever so slyly." - Great article on all the benefits of using a pedometer.

* Sony is set to ship its pedometer-equipped Walkman NW-S200 Series Sports MP3 player. Gizmodo describes it as "dildo-like."

* I thought pet pedometers were just some kind of joke. Now it seems 4,000 vets are recommending them.
September 2nd, 2006



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