A Few Do-Hickies That Make Life Better

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found on the AARP newsletter:

(sorry – all  the links are disabled, but the websites where you can get this stuff are listed…please cut & paste )

7 Gadgets to Improve Your Life

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) unveils technology to track  health for you and your loved ones
by: Steve Morgenstern | from: AARP | February 2, 2012
 As boomers move into their 60s and 70s, products that promote healthy, active aging were among the buzz-worthy innovations unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. With age, too, comes added responsibility: Boomers who are caregivers will welcome new, easier-to-use systems that help keep track of older loved ones living on their own.

Here are a few of our favorite health and fitness trends unveiled in the desert in January:

Top health and fitness products: the basis fitness watchThe Basis fitness watch uses sensors to track your activity, heart rate, sleep patterns, and more. — Photo courtesy Basis

Fit for Your Wrist

Lots of products promise to monitor your physical fitness, but too often they provide limited information or require uncomfortable straps and gear. The Basis fitness watch is different: a lightweight armband that incorporates multiple sensors to track your activity, heart rate, sleep patterns, calories burned and more. A USB connection lets you upload health stats to your computer and to a secure website for tracking. The rechargeable battery lasts up to a week. Available later this year for $199. Find more information at mybasis.com.

 Top health and fitness products: the iHealth Smart Glucometer

The iHealth Smart Glucometer uses an app to calculate your blood glucose level. — Photo courtesy iHealth

An Apple a Day?

More and more health gadgets are being tailored to work with Apple’s trendy iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices. The new iHealth Smart Glucometer, in conjunction with a downloadable app, uses a test strip that attaches to an Apple docking station to calculate your blood glucose level. Trends are tracked, and all results can be sent digitally to physicians or other caregivers. The iHealth Smart Glucometer is awaiting FDA approval and is expected to ship in the second half of 2012. No price has been announced.

The iBike Powerhouse monitor utilizes an app to provide workouts to cyclists. — Photo courtesy iBike

Bike riders can also expect new Apple-friendly gear to track their progress via the iBike Powerhouse monitor, which partners with an app to provide professionally designed workouts to cyclists. The monitor tracks distance, but also gives credits for energy expended — an uphill climb counts more than the trip back down. The $270 system includes a protective case and universal mounting kit: details are at ibikesports.com.

Top health and fitness products: the striiv digital pedometerThe Striiv is more than a simple pedometer; it’s also a charitable giving device. — Photo courtesy Striiv

A Step in the Right Direction

The $100 Striiv is a pedometer that can easily be worn on a keychain or attached to a belt loop. Sporting a 2-inch color screen, the device doesn’t just keep track of how far you’ve walked, but also offers games and challenges to make your exercise more fun. And as you walk, you can pay it forward: Based on the number of points you earn in your travels, Striiv donates money to various global charities at no additional cost to you. Check it out at striiv.com.

 Top health and fitness products: the Zomm Lifestyle Connect

The ZOMM Lifestyle Connect uses Bluetooth medical monitoring sensors. — Photo courtesy ZOMM

A Watchful Eye, at Home and on the Road

Need to keep tabs on an older loved one who lives alone — but don’t want to be overbearing or intrusive? You’re in luck: There’s a surge in digital products to make this tough, touchy task a little easier.

The ZOMM Lifestyle Connect uses the latest low-power Bluetooth medical monitoring sensors to provide a convenient, hassle-free health security system. The compact device measures just 3 inches by 2 inches and connects to the Internet via your Bluetooth-equipped smartphone, with downloadable apps available for Android and Apple devices. If your loved one falls or is in danger — or if a rise in heart rate, glucose level or other vital signs is detected — an alert is automatically generated and sent to a live Personal Safety Concierge, who can contact emergency personnel and designated caregivers.

There’s also a system for keeping track of important possessions, such as your phone, wallet or luggage. By attaching a coin-sized electronic tag to an object, you can track its exact location using the app. When it ships in June, the ZOMM Lifestyle Connect will sell for $200, with a monthly fee of around $15. Find out more at ZOMM.com.

Top health and fitness products: the SonambaPro devicesThe SonambaPro can be programmed to remind you when it’s time to take a reading or a medication. — Photo courtesy Sonamba

The SonambaPro from Pomdevices is also coming soon, and adds similar capabilities to its already very useful first-generation predecessor. In addition to tracking activity levels in the home and messaging caregivers via text, email or smartphone app, the new model adds more monitoring devices, including blood pressure cuffs, glucometers and scales. The Pro can also be programmed to remind your loved one when it’s time to take a reading or a medication. No price was announced at CES, but information is available at sonamba.com.

Top health and fitness products: the Audiovox Car ConnectionWith Audiovox’s Car Connection device, you can monitor a loved one’s driving habits. — Photo courtesy Audiovox

Taking the car keys away from an older loved one can be one of the more difficult challenges in caregiving. Audiovox’s new Car Connection may offer some comfort for those facing this sensitive issue, providing an unobtrusive means to monitor a loved one’s driving habits. Via a GPS device that hooks into a vehicle’s on-board diagnostic system, the system can track how fast, slow, well or poorly the car is being driven. It’ll monitor vehicle performance, too — and even lets you know when an oil change is required. Car Connection will retail later this year for $129, plus a $14.95 monthly fee for service. Learn more at audiovoxproducts.com.

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