10 Health and Fitness Tools To Track Exercise, Chronic Conditions

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Withings Smart Activity Tracker

Announced Jan. 6, the Withings Smart Activity Tracker is a pocket-size device that tracks the number of steps taken, calories burned and quality of sleep. About the size of a memory stick, it features a touch-screen on the front and a heart-rate sensor on the back. It collects pulse measurements and sends notifications of activity or inactivity using a smartphone. Bluetooth Smart connectivity allows the tracker to sync with the Withings Health Mate app on the iPhone, iPad or Android devices. It will be available by the end of the first quarter. Pricing has yet to be announced.

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FitBit Flex

FitBit has introduced a new Bluetooth Smart-enabled, wrist-worn activity tracker called FitBit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband. Introduced Jan. 7, the $99.95 Flex tracks steps, calories burned and sleep patterns, including the amount of hours slept and the number of times a person wakes up at night. The FitBit Flex synchronizes with the iPhone and iPad as well as Android devices and Microsoft Surface tablets. LED lights alert users on how well they're meeting their fitness goals during a workout. Graphs and charts in the mobile app let users track their progress and gaming features let them challenge family or friends, and earn badges upon meeting fitness goals.

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Philips Lifeline GoSafe

On Jan. 8, Philips introduced its Lifeline GoSafe mobile personal emergency response system (PERs). GoSafe features fall-detection capabilities and keeps seniors connected to caregivers using multiple location-tracking technologies and two-way cellular voice communication. Users wear the GoSafe button around their neck and Philips' Lifeline Response Center can help if an emergency occurs. "Our intention is that GoSafe will provide users with the confidence to get back to activities or go to places they have scaled back on, knowing that help is easily accessible," Rob Goudswaard, senior director of product and service programs for Philips Home Monitoring, said in a statement.

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Ambio Health Remote Monitoring System

Ambio Health unveiled its Remote Health Monitoring System Jan. 8. The platform tracks a patient's weight, blood pressure and blood glucose levels. Family members and caregivers can follow a patient's data in an online portal and send reminders for patients to take readings. An Ambio smartphone app also provides readings of vital signs. Ambio will add sensors for motion, doors and windows in the second quarter. Wireless health monitoring can reduce hospitalizations and help patients manage chronic conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

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Spree Headband

HotHead Technologies, a company that develops wireless biosensors, has introduced the Spree Headband, a product that measures body temperature, movement and heart rate. Announced Jan. 3, the Spree also tracks distance and calories burned. It captures data in real time as the user works out and sends the data to a smartphone using Bluetooth. The $299 device works with both Android and iOS, and is slated to ship in April.

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HeartMath Sensor for iOS

A company called HeartMath has developed a sensor to gauge a patient's heart rate and monitor stress levels. The $99 unit clips to the earlobe and sends data to the company's iOS Inner Balance App, also introduced at CES. The app provides real-time feedback and journaling features to help compose the mind to reduce stress. Inner Balance asks how the user is feeling and steps the person through breathing exercises. Announced Jan. 8, both the HeartMath Sensor and Inner Balance app will be available Feb. 1.

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BodyMedia Core2

The BodyMedia Core2, unveiled on Jan. 8, is an armband featuring sensors for temperature, galvanic skin response, acceleration and heat flux, which is the rate of heat transfer through a surface. The armband, which will cost around $119, measures calories burned, exercise intensity and sleep patterns. Bluetooth Smart Ready technology allows for live updates in BodyMedia's mobile app and online Activity Manager.

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MisFit Wearables Shine

Made of aluminum and resembling two stacked quarters, MisFit Wearables' $49 Shine device allows users to track their activities. Although it lacks wireless connectivity, it synchronizes with a smartphone when placed directly on the screen. It allows patients to track their progress by measuring the number of bike pedal strokes, swim strokes and distance traveled. The Shine will ship this spring.

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Iriver On

The $199 Iriver On earbuds go beyond music and incorporate Valencell's PerformTek sensor technology to monitor the user's workout performance. Unveiled Jan. 8, the Bluetooth headset collects data on heart rate, distance, speed, cadence, calories burned and aerobic fitness level by shining a light emitter into the user's ears and blood vessels. Iriver On synchronizes with a smartphone's mobile app to provide a view of the user's data.

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Fitbug Orb

On Jan. 9, U.K.-based Fitbug introduced three products to let people track their health using Bluetooth. The $49.99 button-size Orb is a pedometer that allows users to monitor their sleep and fitness routines. The device attaches to a pants pocket or waistband. Fitbug's cloud platform allows users to track their progress. It works with the iPhone, and compatibility with the Samsung Galaxy S III will follow. The company also introduced a $79.99 Fitbug Wow scale and a $119.99 Fitbug Luv blood pressure monitor.

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