It's got to be the most elegantly simple, aesthetic little health sensor ever created. Misfit Shine, just launched for sale online and soon to be available in Apple stores, is the brainchild in part of Sonny Vu, former CEO and founder of AgaMatrix, the glucose monitoring gurus behind iBGStar.
It boasts the following killer advantages:
* It's a little disc that looks like a piece of platinum jewelry and can be worn in a wristband, necklace, or anywhere on your clothes with a powerful little magnetic clasp that holds it securely.
* There are NO buttons, NO cables, and NO recharging is necessary (it runs on a common coin-cell battery that lasts 4-6 months).
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* It's water-resistant for showering and swimming, up to 50 meters under water.
* When you tap Shine, the little lights on the front can show the time of day and your percent of daily progress toward your fitness goal.
* It's "built to last a lifetime," made out of aircraft-grade aluminum — so drop away, Sports Fans!
How can it aid your health? It's not diabetes-specific, but Shine tracks steps/movement, some specific sports activities, and calories burned. It is "a gorgeous device that will help you be more active and track your progress toward health goals," according to the company FAQ. (See also, the video review just posted at TechCrunch)
Shine costs $120 with the sport band and clasp included, and the additional accessories go for $49.95 for a leather band, and $79.95 for the necklace.
Misfit Wearables is a Silicon Valley startup that's raised a total of $8.35 million from venture capitalists. They also launched one of the most successful ever crowdfunding campaigns on the Indiegogo platform, receiving contributions from 8,000 funders from 64 countries. Wow!
Former Apple CEO John Sculley is a co-founder, founding investor, and is actively involved in mentoring the company — which in tech circles (and pretty much everywhere else too) is HUGE.
The company happens to have been founded on the very day that Steve Jobs died! The name Misfit is derived from the "Here's to the crazy ones" Apple commercial. And in true tech-geek fashion, the founders say they felt camaraderie with "those who don't fit in."
Shine displays your data in a daily view and weekly view. The latter shows you how many times you've hit your goals in a week, compares results to the previous week, and shows your overall average.
You can actually tell Shine what activity you're about to engage in: swimming, running, biking or even sleeping. This has to be done on the app, of course. You tap the top bar in the app and go to "Shine Preferences," and then select your preferred "bookmark activity." The Shine is supposed to automatically detect the end of a swimming session, and for other activities, you can double-tap the sensor unit to let it know you are changing modes.
I've been testing the Shine for about two weeks and I found the "activity tagging" a little bit cumbersome, to be honest. Or to be more honest: I didn't always bother going in to tell the app what I was about to do, so I guess I can't be 100% sure that my activity tracking was accurate.
Right now, tracking is focused on reaching one of three ongoing goals that you set for yourself: a level of Active, Very Active, or Super Active -- defined by a number of points you strive to achieve each day. I chose "Very Active" because I work out at least every other day and am continuously bopping up and down the staircase in my house. But I was a bit taken aback to discover this middle level defined as "running 1.5 hours / day." Who has a full hour and a half to run per day?? If I do a one-hour run or a 45-minute spin class, I consider that a pretty darn good activity day. And what do you know? On my workout days, I exceeded my Shine points goal by 20-30%. So I suggested to the company that the goal levels may need some tweaking.
Nevertheless, with the clear view of daily percentages, you can definitely get a sense of how your week is going. The day I drove down the state of California for five hours, I only hit about 10% of my goal. You caught me sitting on my bum, Shine!
The device can store data for more than a month, but the manufacturers suggest "best results are achieved when you synch daily."
New functionality to be added shortly includes an on-screen display of remaining battery life, and sharing and community features Ã¡ la FitBit. That should be interesting.
Utterly Forgettable (In a Good Way)
My biggest problem was that Shine is so small and comfortable that I kept forgetting about it. I'd leave it clipped to yesterday's shorts, and have to rummage through the hamper late the next morning hoping to rescue it before I missed out on tracking too much of my new day. Twice I forgot about it before leaving the house for my early morning workout. Dern!
But it really is so smooth and attractive that they're right when they say "you can wear it to any occasion from a black tie event to a friend's pool party."
Imagine if the next generation of glucose sensors could be that sleek!
Fun Fact: until Sept. 2, you can also enter to win a special edition of Shine in red from the MyCokeRewards contest, part of Coca Cola's "Get the Ball Rolling" initiative in the U.S., which "aims to inspire more than 3 million Americans to rediscover the joy and fun of being active this summer."