Healthy tech and gadgets
Shiny new toys to boost your health, fitness and wellbeing.
This smart, wireless device makes it easy to check, understand and monitor your blood pressure at home. Simply slide it onto your arm, fasten the Velcro strap, and press the start button on the app, and after 30 seconds you get your reading. The app displays your systolic and diastolic readings, as well as your pulse (heart rate). Not sure what those numbers mean? Just swipe on the app and you’ll see a chart that maps your blood pressure on a colour-coded graph, making it easy to understand. You can also set it to remind you to take your blood pressure, and it saves your history of readings so you can look at your results over time. Sleek, elegant and available in a range of colours, QardioArm is a handy and functional little gadget that gives you an effortless way to keep your health in check.
We all know how frustrating a restless night can be, and sleeping well is important for so many areas of health and wellbeing. While there are many devices that can track your sleep, Withings Aura actually helps you to improve your sleep, through clever use of light and sound.
While you’re nodding off, the bedside device emits white noise and a narrow red light spectrum that helps lull you into sleep. During the night, its sensors constantly monitor the temperature, ambient light and noise in the room, working with a thin sensor mat that slides under your mattress to track your heart rate, breathing patterns, and body movements. This data is used to create a customised sleeping environment of lights and sounds that help you stay in a restful slumber. When it’s time to wake up, a gentle alarm eases you slowly out of sleep. This device isn’t cheap – but if you’re a troubled sleeper, the design, ease of use and functionality of Withings Aura may well make it worth it.
The sun is our friend and foe, bringing us delicious summery light, warmth and vitamin D, but also harmful UV rays that can cause serious damage to our health. The June by Netamo is an elegant, jewel-like device that helps your stay sun smart, monitoring your UV exposure and reminding you when it’s time to cover up or reapply sunscreen. Just enter a few pieces of information into the companion app to determine your skin sensitivity level, and the June starts monitoring your exposure. Taking into account the day’s UV index, the app recommends the right SPF sunscreen to apply, and provides personalised suggestions to protect yourself from the sun. With a stylish design that looks more like a piece of jewellery than the standard wearable gadget, the June has two black straps that can wrap around the wrist, or you can clip it on to your clothes.
Plantronics BackBeat Fit headphones
We all know music can help make us work out harder, faster and better – and these lightweight, wireless headphones are just the device you need to help make your exercise session pulse. Comfortable and sweatproof, these Bluetooth sport headphones provide great quality sound, while still allowing ambient noise for safety (so you can hear traffic while you’re running or cycling outside.) A reflective armband case holds your smartphone, and easy to use on-ear controls allow you to make adjustments while you’re on the move. Designed for all levels of exercise, the BackBeat FIT is comfortable and stays put throughout your workout.
Love your tree poses and sun salutations? SmartMat is an ingenious new product designed to enhance your yoga experience, whether in class or at home. It’s a yoga mat and a yoga instructor all in one, with responsive sensors that monitor your movement, linking up with your smartphone or tablet to provide real-time visual or audio suggestions that help you achieve better positioning. First it guides you into alignment, then it focuses on balance, offering small improvements to help you to find the perfect position for your body. Light and portable, the mat can be rolled up like any other yoga mat, so you can take it with you wherever you need to. The concept is still in the crowdfunding stage, so it might be a while before we can try it out for ourselves – but this is certainly one to keep an eye on.
You’ve got one app tracking your steps, one detailing your food intake, one logging your sleep, one providing you with custom workouts, one storing all your vital health information… it’s a lot of information, and a lot of it overlaps. Enter Health, one of the key features of Apple’s iOS 8 – a hub that collects all your health and fitness data and brings it together in one central location. Essentially, it allows you to set up your own personalized health database, where the apps you use for different health and fitness purposes can share information. It also includes a Medical ID feature, where you can store important details that could be useful in an emergency (like any existing health conditions, medications you’re taking, allergies, emergency contacts, etc), and it can aggregate data from connected medical devices like glucose meters or blood pressure monitors, as well as popular fitness trackers.
Pre-installed on any iPhone 4s or newer running iOS 8, Health lets you view data from every HealthKit enabled app in one dashboard, helping you to visualise information at a glance. In short? It’s a simplified way to monitor all the health metrics you’re already gathering.
Top apps to use with Apple Health
• Nike Training Club
• Map My Run
• Motion 24/7 Sleeptracker
• Web MD
• 7 Minute Workout