In the booming world of smart watches, pendants and bracelets that let people track sleep and steps, wearable computing pioneer Jawbone is out to win hearts through stomachs.
A new version of software that synchs to UP24 lifestyle-tracking wristbands was released on Wednesday with features tailored to help people trim waistlines by tapping into insights about what they are packing into their tummies. “This goes after weight management,” Jawbone wellness and platform group manager Andrew Rosenthal told AFP. “We know that people want to make it easier to eat healthier.”
UP24 bands use sensors to track how active wearers are and how well they sleep, but the diet piece of the fitness puzzle has to be logged manually making it the easiest to be left out. Jawbone data shows that more than three quarters of people who use UP bands have weight goals in mind. “UP and UP24 have inspired millions of people to get engaged in their own health — we’ve shown that living better really is a universally popular proposition,” said Jawbone strategy vice president Travis Bogard. “For the nearly three out of four Americans that are overweight or obese, living better often includes weight loss.”
Added food and weight features for UP bands combined with new third-party applications focused on food are intended to nudge people toward healthful lifestyles.
Help shedding pounds
Jawbone introduced new UP24 wristbands late last year as the wearable computers evolve into smart accessories augmenting Internet lifestyles. The second-generation UP band tracks how active wearers are or how well they are sleeping or eating, then communicates wirelessly with smartphones or tablets to make recommendations “in the moment” about pursuing healthier lifestyles. The San Francisco company has been innovating to put UP bands, Jambox wireless speakers and Jawbone earpieces at the center of merging trends in wearable technology and the Internet of things.
Up software applications tap into Jawbone servers where behaviors can be assessed and helpful feedback sent for wearers to see when next they glance at their mobile device screens. UP applications can reveal facts such as at what time of day someone tends to be most idle or when a person sleeps worst, and then suggest how to improve situations. Ramped up food features in the latest UP mobile software include making games of reaching for goals such as eating sufficient fiber or shedding pounds.
It also reaches into the Internet “cloud” for nutritional information about dishes in restaurants with online menus. The software remembers what people tend to eat and what foods are typically paired, such as bacon with eggs or fries with a burger. Wearers can even have a daily “calorie budget” that updates in real time. UP bands have become Jawbone’s top selling product since the first version was introduced in 2011, but the company would not disclose sales figures. “It’s an exciting place to be, but evolving the product is a big part of the project,” Rosenthal said. “We look at it as an entire system. People get excited about not just having the data, but being able to make sense of it.”
UP harnesses the power of peer support, and pressure, by letting users share accomplishments and goals privately with circles of friends.