Bluetooth Gets Physical To Power Fitness Devices

Bluetooth is managed by an industry group, and that body has just released two new standards that'll result in a whole new range of fitness sensors. Bluetooth's low energy wireless systems are ideal for sensors that measure the movements of people exercising while running or cycling—sensors that have long battery life and can automatically connect to devices like smartphones or cycling computers to record their output.

The Bluetooth SIG had previously outlined the Bluetooth Low Energy standard as being ideal for these devices. Prior to this, devices like Nike and Apple's Nike+ in-shoe sensor had to use a proprietary wireless standard. The new fitness standard is aimed at improving the accuracy of the data the health sensors can collect and transmit over short range, and avoid the need for proprietary hardware like dongles. Fitness devices like the Fuelband and Fitbit are a blossoming industry.

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[Image: Flickr user E'lisa Campbell]

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  • Wize Adz

    I use a Bodymedia Fit Link bluetooth-based fitness monitor.  It's changed my approach to health for the better; not everyone needs to constant feedback provided by this bookkeeping gadget to connect all of the little decisions that go in to fitness, but it's the first approach that's worked for me.

    That said, the Fit Link does feel like a 1st-generation device.  It's a little rough around the edges.  It takes some technologically-literate babysitting to keep it responsive.  It's small enough to be useful, but I wish it were smaller.  It's good to hear that people are thinking about the next generation of this device -- they're great, but there's a lot of room for improvement.

    On the other hand, I've been a fat geek all of my life, and I'm now 15lbs down from when I started using the Fit Link about 5 months ago, and about 25lbs down from my highest-recorded weight.  I've got another 25 to go, but I'm in control of the situation and the only thing that stands between me and a healthy BMI is about 6 more months of regular hard work (with good information that puts me in control of the situation).