Stuff Innovators 2014: Health

Calorie counting and fad diets are so last year; these pioneers are using technology to keep you fighting fit
Stuff Innovators 2014: Health

A healthy body is a healthy mind – and these innovators are flexing their brain muscles to keep the rest of us fit.

They've come up with new ways of tracking our activities, games that mind-hack us into burning calories, and inventing ever more intuitive devices to help us on the path to wellness. So really, you have no excuse: put down that cake, and get on your (smart) bike.

READ MORE: Stuff Innovators 2014 - Superheroes of Tech

Creating the cleverest bicycle ever

Stuff Innovators 2014

Ali Zahid, Vanhawks

The humble push bike hasn’t changed that much in the past 150 years. Sure, the materials used to make them have evolved and the gearing and brakes are more advanced, but the basic shape has barely changed since the Boneshaker of 1869 – Vanhawks’ Valour even uses the same template.

Beneath the surface, however, it’s a completely different beast. Powered by your smartphone (and your feet), Vanhawks has given the Valour turn-by-turn navigation (indicated by lights on the handlebars), sensors that detect stuff in your blind spot (and alert you using vibrations) and an accompanying app that collects Strava-style data on your ride.

If it gets nicked it’ll even tell other Valours nearby so its owner can find out its whereabouts (at US$1250, it’s eminently nickable). Not bad for 150 years of progress. Can you make one that hovers next?

Making earphones that listen to you too

Stuff Innovators 2014

Nikolaj Hviid, The Dash

Most earphones only require you to do the listening, not the other way around. But Bragi’s The Dash in-ears are also able to listen to your heart while you listen to tunes from their built-in 4GB memory or streamed over Bluetooth, with an app to collect the info for analysis. 

It’s a smart combo of wearable tech that none of the big boys thought of and another victory for the Kickstarter revolution.

READ MORE: Stuff Innovators 2014 - Life

Apps that trick you into exercise

Stuff Innovators 2014

Adrian Hon, Six to Start

It starts as just a game. You’re out walking with your headphones in and an audiobook called The Walk on, or you’re jogging to one called Zombies, Run!

You can’t continue listening to the story unless you make a certain number of steps and the next thing you know you’re accidentally getting fit just to find out what happens next. Sneaky, Six To Start, very sneaky. We like your style.

Improving mental health with a game

Improving mental health with a game
Nick Stanhope, Shift Design

Nick Stanhope, Shift Design

While Shift Design (formerly We Are What We Do) likes to be seen as a collective, the man at the helm is Nick Stanhope. He heads a team that’s developing an Android game that works in conjunction with wearable health-monitoring tech.

The idea is that it teaches teenagers to control their breathing and heart-rate by rewarding them for staying calm. Beats stealing cars and killing pedestrians (in GTA V), right?

Words: Will Dunn and Tom Wiggins

READ MORE: Stuff Innovators 2014 - Superheroes of Tech