Pedometers have long existed. But let’s be honest, they’re for middle aged, over weight women. There is nothing cool, rad or hip about them. Those of the younger, more stylish generation are attracted to sleeker looking products that complement their lifestyle, not ones that contradict it. Nike’s Plus service emerged a few years ago, and while it provides much needed information for runners, it was, and is, hardly an everyday accessory to help you keep track of your daily activities. Leveraging the popularity of rubber wrist bands, such as Livestrong Lance Armstrong bands, is Nike’s Fuelband bracelet.
Embedded into the bracelect’s face, in addition to a single rubber coated button, are 20 LED lights which indicate how close you are to achieving your daily Fuel goal. There are also 100 white LEDs that spell out your total steps taken, calories burned and your Fuel number for the day. By design, and logically I might add, the information resets everyday at 12am since the goals are designed around a single day.
To get the Fuelband up and running one simply has to plug it into my computer. Unlike many of today’s smartphone and similar products, the Fuelband doesn’t use a micro or mini USB port. Instead the clasp doubles a USB plug, though Nike includes a cord for those using a desktop or aren’t comfortable plugging the band directly into their computer’s USB port. Once plugged in, you’ll need to head to Nikeplus.com/setup where you’ll be prompted to download the accompanying software. Once installed you’ll be walked through a quick setup process where upon you’ll enter your age, height, weight as well as your desired daily Fuel goal. Don’t worry, you can later customize the Fuel number to whatever you’d like, but Nike offers three presets: 2000 (normal), 3000 (active day) and 5000 (high-energy day). If you’ve got a Nike account you can login immediately or sign up. After that, you’ll just need to just charge your Fuelband to full, which takes about 3-4 hours, and you’ll be off and exercising.
So what is Nike Fuel? Nike Fuel is whole integer number that represents your daily activity by calculating your calories burned along with your steps taken, while simultaneously factoring in your age, gender, weight and height. In short order, Nike Fuel is a calculation that allows everyone and anyone to compete regardless of their sex, age and any physical predispositions. All this data can be uploaded to Nike+ Connect or the accompanying smartphone app once you pair the Fuelband using the built-in Bluetooth.
Using the Fuelband is dead simple. A small rubber button that is seamlessly embedded into the facade, illuminates the LED lights. Press it and it will show the last menu viewed: Fuel, Cals, Steps or Time. Each subsequent press cycles through the different menus by scrolling them from right to left in a fashion that could be best described as an electronic billboard – it’s quite slick. The color LEDs, which shows you how close you are to your daily goal – green is the goal as indicated by one LED, while red is your progress – only illuminates during the initial press of the button, not during the cycles. Hold down the button for a few seconds and it will activate the sync feature (as displayed), provided of course you’ve paired it with your smartphone’s Bluetooth connection and downloaded the accompanying app.
With the app installed (on your computer or smartphone) you’ll be able to modify your daily Fuel goal to whatever integer you like, see your progress, calories burned, step taken and distance walked. It also allows you to view your past days, rate your day using a variety of emoticon faces, view your friends activity and review past achievements. If need be you can also modify a few other options, such as the Fuelband’s display orientation for left or right hand wearing, but you’ll need to connect it your computer to change your height, weight or age – hardly a concern though, since those won’t change much.