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First-look video: Wahoo Blue HR heart-rate monitor

This year is shaping up to be a good one for health-related gadgets, thanks to the new Bluetooth 4.0 specification and profiles. The $79 Wahoo Blue HR is among the first of these devices to take advantage of this low-powered wireless capability, and I took it for a 5-mile test run. There’s no need to charge the heart-rate monitor because it runs on a fairly standard watch battery that should last for at least a year.

It’s great to see my heart-rate data after a run, but even more important to see it during a training session. The Wahoo Blue HR works with a number of apps, including a free native app. For now, you can only use this monitor with the iPhone 4S because most handsets aren’t yet using Bluetooth 4.0. That should change during 2012, however. And I foresee uses other than exercise tracking for these types of gadgets. Imagine doctors that can remotely monitor the pulse of their patients after a procedure or upon starting a new medication.

For now I’ll just be using the Wahoo Blue HR during my road race and track-and-field training. At least until I get older and out of shape, that is; at that point, I’ll hope my doctor actually can monitor my health from afar!

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Again, Wahoo Reinvents Fitness on the iPhone

Wahoo’s popular ANT+ Fisica dongle, which allows the iPhone to read signals from fitness gadgets like heart-rate monitors, pedometers and bike sensors, is probably most widely used fitness iPhone accessory since its release a little  over a year ago. And today, Wahoo took the first step toward killing it.

That’s because the Atlanta-based outfit just unveiled their new $80 Wahoo Blue HR heart-rate sensor. The Blue HR uses the new low-energy Bluetooth v4.0 connection every new iPhone 4S comes equipped with, instead of the dongle-facilitated ANT+ connection. Which is great, because a) it’s less expensive than buying the dongle (which is $80) and then also having to purchase an HR sensor, and b) there’s no dongle to fiddle with. Wahoo is first to announce a Bluetooth v4.0 fitness device for the iPhone.

The Blue isn’t locked to a specific app; popular apps RunKeeper and MapMyFitness are already compatible, as is Wahoo’s own free app.

We’re not sure yet how power consumption compares with that of ANT+, but it should be more or less comparable. Unfortunately, while Bluetooth v4.0 isn’t just Apple technology and should be included on Android (et. al.) high-end handsets as well, the 4S is the only Apple handset with the tech — it doesn’t exist on the 4 or below. Also, the HRM is the only piece of kit with the tech; no pedometer, powermeter or bike sensors are equipped with it just yet — so if you’re on a bike and need cadence you’re still stuck with a dongle, even with a 4S.

 

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