22 Mar
Lost In A Supermarket tests Nike's athletic tech gadget motivator racing on frozen Swedish lakes... how much Fuel will it earn?

We just got a Nike FuelBand delivered to our offices, and we have to admit we’re both stoked and a bit perturbed. We appreciate the preview, but what exactly are you trying to tell us Nike? I mean we know the Fat Tire and Balvenie has its waistline effects, but dammit we’re working on it! Well, maybe your high tech athletic gadgetry will help us trim the fat.

How the FuelBand works is it uses its 3 internal dimensional accelerometers to gather data about the motion you use with whatever wrist you wear the band on, and then incorporates a series of algorithms to figure out what exact exercise you’re doing. These algorithms have been derived from countless hours tracing the types of motion various sports & activities require (tennis, boxing, basketball, running, etc). Once it figures out the exercise, another set of algorithms deduces how much energy you’re using from said activity. Then it tells you how much “NikeFuel” you’ve earned thus far today .

The motivating (and interesting) aspect of the FuelBand is that you set a daily goal of how much NikeFuel you want to earn. You can set it for a tough day at the office to serious marathon training. The band then tells you throughout the day how much you’ve earned via its futuristic LEDs. Synced up to your Nike+ iPhone app (via Bluetooth), or laptop to the website, you can then compare today’s tally to yesterdays. And to last week’s, last month’s, your best day, your worst day — even compare versus your friends (and enemies). There are some nice touches, like fireworks on the band when you’ve done especially good — or a visit on your app from “Fuely”, a cartoon character whose joy at your achievements is contagious.  Are you just 500 NikeFuel points from achieving your goal? Go vacuum the living room, wash dishes or run around the block, and you’ll get there. All in all, the system works to truly motivate you to get off your ass.

How the Nike FuelBand works

The couple negatives are it doesn’t work for cycling (because it just thinks you’re running really fast), nor for weightlifting (because it can’t discern how much weight you’re actually lifting). If and when they decide to implement a GPS that can see your distance traveled, it should knock out at least the cycling aspect.

But we got something else entirely in mind. LOST IN A SUPERMARKET is going to take Nike’s FuelBand to the Arctic Circle next week and try to use it while we race AMG’s on the ice lakes of northern Sweden. Yes, AMGs on frozen lake beds in the Arctic Circle, you heard us right. Will the FuelBand be able to tell how much activity we’re doing by the flicks of our wrists? Or rather will it be able to calculate the stress, bullet sweating and pant pooping as we desperately try to hold onto the steering wheel of high powered German performance cars as they race on high speeds over ice? Will it deduce the adrenaline dump from skidding in donuts at 70 mph while the frozen tundra world circles around us in a blur? Well, when we get back we’ll report on the amount of NikeFuel we earned and let y’all know how we did… or rather, how well Nike’s FuelBand did in figuring out our exact level of strain. Either way, should be a doozy. See you in a couple weeks…

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