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Nike+ FuelBand

As I was reading Adam’s posts from this week, I noted that he mentioned that I might make a post about the Nike+ FuelBand. So here it is!

A little back story: Adam and I are a little techie. We like gadgets (we even build our own and are dreaming about running our house on microprocessors)! OOOooo shiny!  In a different realm, we also like to evaluate our progress and activity when it comes to our runs and daily life. We’ve both had GPS watches (which Adam mentioned in his post), including our current Nike+ SportWatches and, previously, a few Garmin watches. We love tracking our runs through GPS and having a good estimate of our pace and mileage.

For my birthday this year, Adam got me the Nike+ FuelBand. It was a huge surprise! We had talked about it, and agreed that it was a “shiny” purchase, but I was fairly certain that I only showed genuine interest (“A sweet gadget that tracks my activity? That’s so cool!” – me) and no need for such a gadget. The thoughtful little bugger got me one!

The Nike+ FuelBand in all its glory

The Nike+ FuelBand tracks activity. It has an accelerometer in the attractive modern-looking wrist band (complete with a flexible circuit board and antenna that you can see here). The accelerometer measures *gasp* acceleration, so anytime you move, change directions, run, walk, grab a cup of coffee, etc., the FuelBand records it.

In addition, it has 100 white LEDs which displays:

  • the activity (or “Fuel”) and also the time
  • measured steps taken (though I’ve found this feature lacking in my informal “tests”)
  • a good estimate of calories burnt.

It has 20 very colorful LEDs which show your linear progress towards your daily goal. One you hit your goal, you get a cute surprise too!

You begin by creating a Nike+ account on Nike Connect and a profile which includes your weight and height to accurately measure your calories burnt. I was very confused by the difference between the Fuel and the calories for a bit. I probably looked through ten different reviews until I was satisfied with my explanation. Fuel measures activity that is then “normalized” for all users.  This ensures that  you gain the same Fuel for the same activity level as anybody else regardless of body type or gender. This can be compared to the calories burnt, which takes into account your gender, height and weight. I can attest to the fact that Adam and I can do the EXACT same activity (like running 10 miles this morning), and he will burn hundreds more calories than me. Not to be pouty, but when he gets to eat an extra burger and I don’t because he burnt more calories than me, I get a smudge petulant. It’s just not fair. *Sigh* Well, I plan on comparing my Fuel points with Adam’s (once he gets a FuelBand) for the same activity. I will update the results in the future!

In any case, the FuelBand measures your activity level. It isn’t biased, in fact, since they normalize their Fuel points, your activity level is rather accurately measured day-to-day. It sends the info to Nike+Connect through a USB connection directly in the band. You then can monitor your progress daily and watch as your activity goes up and down. You set a daily Fuel goal (mine is currently 3,500), and try to earn that many Fuel points by 12am (when it resets). I will admit, I have done stairs, jumping jacks, dancing, ANYTHING, just before bed to ensure I reach my goal. Adam usually laughs at me, but honesty, I think Nike’s vision is being achieved. I am definitely being more active with this that I was before it. Nike effectively encouraged me to be more active! (It also encouraged me to spend $150 on one of its products and totally subscribe to its system). I’m hooked.

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