Wearables.com community review: The best and worst of the Runtastic Orbit
Jul30

Wearables.com community review: The best and worst of the Runtastic Orbit

In May, we gave away a Runtastic Orbit to Wearables.com community Michael Houle in exchange for a user review. Check out his thoughts on the device below (And be sure to enter to win our latest giveaway: the Pebble Time!). Top 4 pros: 1) Outstanding water resistance, up to to 300 feet 2) The display is simple, easy to glean stats from 3) Pretty good battery life 4) Ease of use with Runtastic Apps Top 4 cons: 1) USB charging cable is too short 2) Device is sensitive to road bumps when worn while driving 3) A little pricey considering how simple the device is 4) The second display for RuntasticPro is buggy at times   Overall score: 4.3 of 5 Overall the Runtastic Orbit is great — when used in conjunction with Runtastic apps. I found the device easy to setup, easy to use, comfortable to wear, and pretty accurate with the daily readings. The Runtastic Orbit is not as great if used as a standalone device. This is due to the inability to input your height, weight, age, and gender on the device, which can only be done through the apps. The charging cable is very small and does not come with a wall plug, meaning you can only charge it at a computer (unless you go out and buy a USB adapter). The Orbit did drain my phone’s battery (a Samsung Galaxy S5 Active) quicker than normal due to the use of Bluetooth for syncing the Orbit to the app. The app will automatically turn the phone’s Bluetooth on. My personal workaround was to turn off the RuntasticMe app’s ability to automatically turn on the phone’s Bluetooth when opened.  Instead, I only turned the bluetooth on when I wanted to sync the device to the app. The screen can be difficult to read in direct sunlight. Be aware that the device can pick up the vibrations of bumps when driving and add unnecessary steps to your daily goal. My fix was to put the Orbit in sleep mode when driving long distances. And finally, I did not use the device to track my sleep after a few days of reviewing the sleep mode of the device. With all of the above taken into account, however, the Orbit is still a great fitness tracker for walking and running. Battery life: 4 The battery worked better than expected. The manual states it last 5 to 7 days, but at the 7 day mark I still had just under a quarter of the batter life left. How long it lasts depends how many times a day you use the display and how often you sync the device with the RuntasticMe app,...

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How the USWNT used wearables to win the 2015 Women’s World Cup
Jul08

How the USWNT used wearables to win the 2015 Women’s World Cup

This Sunday, soccer fans across the globe held their breath in suspense as the U.S. Women’s National Team dominated Japan in the final game of the 2015 Women’s World Cup. After a devastating loss to Japan in the 2011 finals, the USWNT needed to make some changes — and needed to make them fast. Four years later with a final score of 5 – 2, the Japanese team proved to be no match for the strength and speed of major U.S. players like Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Carli Lloyd. But behind this all-star team was an equally powerful lineup of trainers and technology that pushed the athletes to beat their personal bests. Since 2010, the USWNT has utilized activity trackers in order to maximize workouts without burning the players out. As the official heart rate technology supplier of the U.S. Soccer Federation, Polar provides each member of the team with a Polar M400 GPS watch. Dawn Scott, the USWNT strength and conditioning coach, told Wired,“Heart rate monitoring has been around for over 10 years now, but in the past five years there has been an increase in the use of GPS technology in soccer and sports generally, which is basically like a car’s satellite navigation tracking every single movement and impact a player makes on the field.” By using wearable technology in conjunction with such a physically demanding sport, Scott is able to more accurately monitor heart rate, time, heat, and exhaustion of multiple players all from one screen. “The key factors I focus on are time and load in certain heart rate zones based on an individual’s maximum heart rate, then from the GPS the amount of high intensity running (running above a certain speed threshold), as well as total player load (an accumulation of the impacts in the three planes of motion), the work rate for individuals as well as an analysis of the speed profile for each player,” Scott told the tech magazine. “Even within positions the demands are not the same — as forwards Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan both have very different roles, physical qualities and styles and their physical load reflect that, and hence they need to be training and preparing differently,” she continued, describing the need for more personalized monitoring and workouts. In order to cover the many miles a soccer player will run in a single game, the training staff works tirelessly to help players push limits while keeping their health and safety in check. No one wants an overtrained player on a finals field. So with another World Cup under their belts and some game-changing technology on their wrists, we can expect to see “a new generation of players who are ready to take the game...

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