Summer’s officially here, and it’s time to get outdoors and get active! For Biters, that means everything from exercise to travel to soaking up the sun at a rooftop bar with friends. Being the nerds that we are, we always find a way to incorporate tech into our activities. Here are a few of our favorite gadgets this summer:
Mark Westall: Nike+ Fuel Band
There’s no doubt about it, today’s human race is becoming more like cyborgs every day. Aside from the fact that we’re attached to our smartphones every waking (and sleeping) hour and communicating on more social networks than we have limbs, we’re now physically strapping technology to ourselves that, quite literally, track every step we take. Step forward, this summer’s must have gadget, the Nike Fuel Band.
The Nike Fuel Band is a rubber coated wrist band, which – using the same accelerometer technology found in smartphones – measures movement and the speed of that movement. So as you walk, run, jump and dance, the fuel band’s accelerometer calculates how many steps you’re taking, how many calories you’re burning and how many ‘Nike Fuel’ points you earn. Wait! I hear you cry, what on earth are Nike Fuel points? Essentially, Nike Fuel points are generated by converting your steps and burnt calories into an overall score – ‘NikeFuel’. By calculating everyone’s score in this same way, Nike boasts that this means you can compare and compete with anyone. Pretty neat. For me though, the fact that I can, in theory compete against Usain Bolt isn’t the best thing about the Fuel Band. What makes it so brilliant is the super clean, super sexy way in which all this exercise inspiring data is displayed.
Firstly, the LED display on the band itself is awesome. Every time I hit the discreet black button to illuminate the day’s stats, the geek inside me yelps in excitement. What’s more, whenever I reach my NikeFuel ‘Goal’ for the day I’m greeted with what can only be described as a mini LED fireworks display to celebrate this momentous achievement. Secondly, the interactive iPhone and desktop apps that the band syncs to are as beautiful as they are functional – allowing you to track your success month by month, compete against your Facebook friends and earn Nike badges whenever you hit a new milestone.
To the cynic it all sounds a bit gimmicky, needless and – at $149 – pricey too. But as a motivational tool, it’s brilliant. Lately, I’ve found myself walking to the food store when I would’ve taken the bus or jogged an extra lap in the park when I would normally have quit. Why? Because now I have this ‘goal’ staring at me from my wrist, demanding that I do more. The summer was meant to be lived outside and if the Fuel Band can help us ditch our DVD days and lie-ins for sunshine and ice cream, who’s going to argue with that?
Michelle Colligan: 2x Kodak Playsport ZX3 Video Camera
Kodak? They still exist? Yup, apparently they do and they have a nifty little pocket camera you can take along on your summertime excursions. No, it’s not new, but it’s a must-have for me. I’m about to embark on a trip to Europe, and sometimes photos just don’t cut it when trying to relive vacation memories. So, I searched high and low for a video cam that functioned well but wouldn’t break the bank. The 2K Kodak Playsport is simple to use with the click of a button to start/stop recording. It has a wide screen, takes both video and still pics, and has built-in image stabilization for those with a shaky hand.
You might ask why I don’t just use my phone, but have you ever gone two hours without checking a text message, sending a tweet, drawing something or perusing Facebook? I think not. Plus, the picture quality is so much better with 1080p HD video recording.
My favorite part about it? It’s waterproof up to 10 ft. under water, so it’s great for things like snorkeling and more. Supposedly you can drop it and it’s a pretty tough cookie too. There’s also an anti-glare feature, which helps cut down the reflection from the sun when recording outdoors. While there are more expensive models out there, this one’s perfect for me – I’m not afraid of dropping it and it takes great pics and videos for the price point. I bought it on Amazon for $75, and I’m looking forward to using it on my trip and sharing videos with friends and family upon return!
Hyeri Kim: Easy-Macro Lens Band
Easy-Macro stays true to its name by providing an easy solution to this problem. Formed as a rubber band, it allows you to take extremely detailed close-up photos with your camera phone. Because it isstretchable, it can fit on any smartphone you want! There is no lens case or other heavy obligations to take care of – all you have to do is keep it in your wallet, then slide it around your phone when you want to take close-up pictures!Since Instagram finally opened up to Android users a few months ago, I’ve been toying around with my Samsung Galaxy Nexus to take better shots with my smartphone. I was secretly jealous of the popular photographers on Instagram and wanted to improve my own photography skills. I have always been interested in photography, having studied photojournalism for a semester at the University of Texas (Hook ‘em!) and owning a DSLR camera. Although I loved the fact that my Galaxy Nexus felt like a feather compared to my heavy Canon DSLR, I didn’t like how my phone would take blurry photos if I got too close to my subject. That’s when I found out about Easy-Macro.
The best thing about this neat band is that it is affordable at a price of $15 – even a recent college grad like me can buy it without breaking the budget. For something so simple, it delivers great results. You can check out the product and sample photos from Easy-Macro’s website.
I’m planning to use this smart, little accessory for all of my trips this summer. I am excited to try it out and share any great pictures that I take with you on Instagram!