Wearable gadgets are everywhere, and it's not just the big boys who are looking to get in on the action. A handful of smaller and, in some instances, unique takes on the burgeoning trend are popping up on crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Here are five of the most promising activity trackers of the future that you can back today.
Smart: A heart rate monitor for your noggin.
SMART is a pretty straightforward take on the somewhat antiquated heart rate monitor model. From the above demo, it appears as though the temporal sensor is as good as whichever heart rate strap the test dummy is wearing. However, her rate in the demo is relatively low, and if it's anything like the Basis B1, it might not accurately measure your BPM once you're in the zone.
Amiigo: An activity tracker that knows everything you're doing without you having to tell it.
It might look like every other wrist-worn activity monitor, but the Amiigo not only adds a plethora of sensors to track your heart rate or skin temperature, it also claims to know what you're doing without you telling it what you're doing. Comprising a bracelet and shoe clip that work independently but jointly send feedback to your mobile device, Amiigo can supposedly decipher the difference between jumping jacks, a jog and dead lifts.
Instabeat: Swimmers, here is your gadgety training aide.
Swimmers are really getting screwed when it comes to activity trackers, mainly because they all track bipedal movements. And as any swimmer will tell you, wearing a chest strap when training is the opposite of ideal. Instabeat claims to be able to track your heart rate and relay that information to a tiny display in your goggle with an accuracy rate of 97 percent.
Embrace+: Is this the answer to the smart watch?
So this doesn't seem that much different than the "smart" watches that you can pick up today. But it's different in that it's just a simple bracelet that lights up when a new email, tweet, Instagram tag, or any other number of notifications pop up on your phone. So, for instance, you can color-code emails red or phone calls blue minimizing the need to pull out your phone. Not a bad idea.
Lit: When you're shredding the gnar, this will tell you just how hard you're shredding the gnar.
According to NZN Labs' Indiegogo page, the Lit is able to quantify a score based on g-forces, air time, jumps, spins and whatever else non-mainstream athletes are into, like motocross or surfing. As someone who participates in non-traditional sports, I can tell you that this is super appealing but how the heck are they doing it? The specs for the Lit include an "advanced" 6-axis sensor, an "extreme gyro range" to measure g-forces, and it also uses your phone's GPS for even more accurate measurements.