If you’re headed out for a run and want to track your heart rate, you may strap on a chest band which can be uncomfortable. Consider a new alternative: the LifeBeam Hat. This $99 device is an excellent example of how wearable technology can “disappear” into the background of our lives. Just pop it on your head, and you’re ready to go. It communicates with most fitness devices and apps,using either Bluetooth or ANT+ to communicate wirelessly with your smartphone or other mobile device.
The Hat uses optical sensors to monitor your heartbeat as you exercise. It is lightweight, and can also detect your cadence and number of steps as you run. It also provides a more accurate measure of calories consumed than some other devices.It runs on rechargeable batteries that are designed to last up to 15 hours between charges.
The fitness application is clearly the low-hanging fruit for this product, but it can have other uses as well. I can see how this might be used to monitor heart rate for patients with a variety of chronic or temporary conditions, and could be set to provide warnings if the measure went above or below pre-defined thresholds. It’s as convenient as wearing a hat — because it is a hat — and could be much easier for patients to incorporate in their lives than some other devices.