Wearable tech wristband plans to revolutionize walking

Ane Howard · November 13, 2014 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/3a63

Step out with Arki! Kickstarter raises 55% of its goal in first 8 hours

Wearable technology has come a long way since that calculator watch that everybody wanted to wear back in the '80s. In 2014, gold Apple Watches and 'smart bands' designed by music superstars, and head-mounted augmented reality displays like Google Glass - a concept that would have sounded positively space-age and incredibly exciting to those '80s-era tech fans, are now the norms.

Tomorrow is so yesterday.

Recent predictions have sales of wearable tech jumping to an astounding 51 million units in 2014. Moreover, health and fitness wearable account for a large chunk of the skyrocketing interest in wearable technology. Activity trackers, usually embedded in a wristband or armband and occasionally in a clip-on device, monitor a range of variables from number of steps to heart rate and sleep quality. Some high-end devices display the output; most activity trackers communicate wirelessly with your smartphone or computer, allowing you to track and evaluate your performance.

First-generation electronic activity trackers incorporated existing wearable technology, like heart rate monitoring and step counting, into a sleeker and more user-friendly profile. Adding a little extra hardware made trackers capable of calculating mileage and calorie burn as well. The current generation of health and fitness trackers, however, offer so much more, placing them at the leading edge of wearable tech.

With the major players dominating 97% retail market share, is there room for startups?

Three major fitness wearable manufacturers, Fitbit, Jawbone, and Nike had a reported 97% retail market share in 2013. The very latest iterations of their products pack comprehensive monitoring capabilities - steps, distance, calories, heart rate, sleep quality, even basic motion sensing - into sleek form factors that are durable and comfortable to wear, with long battery lives. The big smartphone manufacturers offer wearables that merge health and fitness technology with smartphone functionality, offering users a convenient multi-purpose device. Prototype wearable devices are underway that can also analyse sweat to alert users when they need to re-hydrate, with another body chemistry sensors not far away. So the very latest wearable health technologies take a step in a new direction.

Yes there is room for new players.

Far from being discouraged by the gargantuan presence of the big leaguers, emerging companies are developing activity trackers that zero in on specific activities, optimising tracking and feedback for these activities. This is possible thanks to new 3D body tracking technology. Weight lifters can monitor their form and power and count their reps with one of the several new devices coming to market. Dancers and martial artists can track and analyse their movements to improve their performance. However, one of the most audacious claims yet comes from the new kid on the wearable tech block, Arki.

Arki the brainchild of a Seoul and Los Angeles-based wearable tech startup Zikto, is a wristband that offers all the classic activity tracker functions, in a rather attractive and fashionable streamlined package.

Here is where it gets really interesting. What it also does is teach you how to walk.

What?! Did I hear you say teach me how to walk? But I already know how to walk!

Yes, walking is something most of us learn on our own and without much training. It's innate and intrinsically tied to mankind's evolution. Zikto's assertion is that for a variety of reasons, we are slacking off at this most fundamental of activities. Bad walking posture can lead to serious pain and health issues and can be indicative of stroke or other neuromuscular event, or of compression of a nerve.

Moreover, if we are honest, many of us are slipping into bad walking habits. Looking down at our smartphones, slouching our shoulders, plodding along with arms dangling at our sides. We are busy; we are distracted, and we are not doing ourselves any favors.

How does Arki work?

Arki helps to correct poor walking posture by tracking arm swing using a six-axis motion sensor. Real-time feedback reminds the user to maintain proper posture. Swing speed, rotation angle and transferred vibration from the feet to the band are also measured so Arki can provide detailed feedback via its smartphone app. Uncovering existing body imbalances is as simple as switching the wristband from one wrist to the other periodically and letting Arki compare the data from each side. Based on its analysis of your data, Arki's app will recommend a personalised training plan to correct imbalances. When we get walking, one of our most fundamental movement patterns right, our performance in another exercise improves, and we benefit from an overall boost in vitality and wellbeing.

Zikto has already created much buzz in their native Korea and in the U.S. for this exciting device and will soon bring it to a worldwide market at a surprisingly affordable price.

Arki is successfully running a Kickstarter right now. Over 55% of its goad has been reached in 24 hours  You may want to join in. And as a backer, you will get a first look at their innovative health and lifestyle technology.

And the motto is, "Every movement counts. Get walking" 

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Ane Howard

I am a social journalist covering technology innovations and the founder of RushPRNews.com, an international newswire.

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