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Activity trackers, health hotspots and smart forks feature at CES 2013


hapiforks
Richard Handford

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Health and fitness vendors were busy at last week’s CES 2013. Alongside the predictable activity trackers were more unlikely releases such as a Bluetooth-enabled fork.

Among the higher profile releases was the Fitbit Flex, a new device designed to be worn on the wrist. The device monitors how many steps a user takes, as well as the calories they burn and the amount of sleep they are having.  The Flex also syncs with a user’s smartphone (iOS or Android) via Bluetooth

Another activity tracker was announced by Withings, a company better known for its Wi-Fi scales and monitoring devices. Its Smart Activity Tracker has a built-in heart monitor and touchscreen. Similar to the Flex, it connects to smartphones (Android, iOS) via Bluetooth.

Meawhile Healthspot demonstrated a private, walk-in kiosk that enables patients to receive remote diagnosis by doctors via high-definition videoconferencing and interactive digital medical devices.

Deployment of the device is due to start in select locations in Q1 of this year, says the vendor. The kiosk has features such as scales built into the floor. And the doctor can remotely unlock small cabinets containing the medical devices that transmit the patients’ data, audio, video and pictures remotely back to him or her.

The kind of locations envisaged for the kiosk are grocery stores, large businesses, rural areas, college campuses and nursing homes, although the vendor less predictably also suggests hospital emergency rooms or doctor’s offices as possible locations.

Finally, and more eccentrically, was the launch of the Hapifork (pictured) by Hapilabs. The electronic eating implement is meant to help users monitor and track their eating habits (eating too fast leads to poor digestion and weight problems). The fork alerts the user with an indicator light when they are consuming their food too quick.  Data about eating habits can also be uploaded via Bluetooth to a smartphone app (iOS, Android, Windows Phone).


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