Tagged with: Measurement Technology
My family already did our gift opening between the four of us, just because we travel for the holidays and don’t want to take any more stuff than necessary in the car. I had asked my husband for running accessories since I recently started training for a half marathon and I’ve always just gone by time (and mood or energy level) in terms of monitoring my workouts so I never really know how many miles I run. So he got me the Nike+ Sportband which seems like a pretty cool hi-tech fitness toy (and looks like just a pretty cool watch too).
The Sportband records distance, pace, time, and calories burned, and also saves a week of workouts so you can go back and review them on the wristband itself. You can then also disconnect the Sportband Link from the watchband and connect it to your computer (like a USB) where you can register an account at nikeplus.com and save/track all of your runs, set new goals, create challenges with other people, and probably much more that I haven’t quite figured out yet.
So it actually comes as a kit which has a sensor device (about the size of a guitar pick) that inserts into a specific Nike+ Active shoe with a small pocket in the insole of the shoe and registers each step taken. No offense to Nike, but I don’t personally like their shoes for running (they don’t seem to accommodate my wide feet) so I got a little Velcro contraption that holds the device and straps onto the shoelaces of my beloved Mizunos®. This device is able to sense each step taken and sends the information to the Sportband Link on my wrist band, so I can track the distance for each workout.
So I got mine all set up online by registering an account (through my Facebook) and downloading and installing the Nike+ Utility. Then it basically says I’m ready to go. Just push a button when I start running or walking and it will tell me what I want to know. Sounds easy and I have to admit I’m pretty excited to get started.
But as I always seem to do, I was wondering about accessibility as I was going through the set-up. Especially with the measurement issues in the field of disability, in terms of finding accurate ways to measure physical activity with varied gait patterns or the use of a wheelchair for ambulation versus “steps”, I started wondering just how accurate it would be in various situations. Because it offers calibration settings, it seems to me that if you have an altered gait pattern, you could still maintain some accuracy by using that. You just need to run or walk at a steady, natural pace for a known distance and then when you link it to your computer, you can adjust the setting by making sure the distance that you know you went is the same as what the sensor says you went. Then all future runs or walking will be calibrated to your specific running style.
BUT then I read that the sensor device isn’t activated until you get to at least 2.5 mph. I wonder if that speed is limited because of the technology, or if Nike chose that because it’s specific to their Nike running site. What if someone doesn’t walk or jog at that pace safely but does walk/jog and still wants to record their distance?
And what about wheeling? I couldn’t find anything online about using the Sportband and sensor in any other capacity where someone may have a varied gait or other form of ambulation, so I’d be curious to see how this hi-tech fancy sensor detects motion in other situations, such as revolutions of your shoulder during wheelchair propulsion. I already emailed Nike to ask/suggest, and I urge you to do the same! You can call them at 800-379-6453 or send an email at http://nikerunning.nike.com/nikeos/p/nikeplus/en_US/support?1292863129463?1#/contact-us.