It seems strange to think that only a few years ago there were no Fitbits, no Jawbones, no Larklife, no Nike+ Fuelbands. These days, almost everyone at the gym has a smart device wrapped around their wrist or clipped to their waistband to measure how far they've run or how many steps they've climbed.
But what if you're not a runner? Or a cyclist, or a triathlete, or a dieter counting calories? Maybe you're more into snowboarding. Or surfing, or skateboarding, or motorcross. Those are still sports; still activities that require a great deal of physical exertion and skill. Shouldn't they count towards your fit tech gadget's goals? NZN Labs thinks so--which is why it's developed Lit (funding through May 17), an activity tracker that works for action sports.
Lit is similar to other activity trackers in that it's a small, matchbox-sized gadget that you wear, measures a variety of movements, and connects to an app to provide you with data on your activities.
However, unlike other trackers, Lit can measure the number of jumps and rotations in a session, the peak and total air time, and the peak G-force, which means it can also tell you how many flip tricks you pulled in the half-pipe, how many times you paddled while surfing, and the biggest air you caught while snowboarding--all while still giving you data on how many steps you've walked or run.
You can snap the Lit device into a lightweight soft silicon watchband (available in multiple colors), put it in a clip, or string it on a lanyard so it's easy to wear 24/7. It measures 1.5 inches x 1.14 inches x .35 inches, and is also shock-resistant and water resistant (up to 100 meters). The battery is rechargeable, and should last four days or so between charges. You can also sync the Lit wirelessly with your mobile device via Bluetooth 4.0. Using 120 LEDs, the Lit can display the time, your cumulative score, steps counted, and the battery life.
The Lit measures your movements 24/7 using both an accelerometer and a gyroscope to interpret steps, distance, duration, intensity, strokes, paddles, jumps, rotations, and turns. It also scores the activities and awards you points that you can use to compete against your friends--for example, to see who got the most air time on the slopes or the biggest jump in the half-pipe.
The Lit app, still in development, will let you take photos and video from within the app. The Lit app will be able to tag highlights of the session (like airtime) so that you can go back through the video and quickly find the best parts. You can also share your Lit scores and videos via social networks. For the moment, Lit is only planning an iOS version of the app, but expects to release an Android version sometime next year if everything goes well.
Lit has the double advantage of being unlike other devices on the market, and being well-timed to hit the current fit tech gadget craze. At $149, it'll be a bit on the pricier side. However, gadgets like the GoPro have already proved that the "extreme" sports market is under served in cool tech and I can reasonably see more than a few users being excited about tracking their tricks--and sharing their video clips. If you contribute $99, you can reserve your own Lit for a planned August delivery. And you'll be helping NZN Labs get the last $7500 or so (when this story was published) of its $50,000 funding goal before time runs out.