Running watches have never been more useful, but they can also be fiddly and needy. All that taking it on and off, pressing buttons to start workouts – what if you could wear something 24 hours a day that logs all the same info automatically?
That’s what the AmpStrip, a mind-bogglingly intelligent plaster, is promising to do for runners, swimmers and triathletes. Made from waterproof silicon, it’s designed to be worn all day and night on your left torso, where your heartbeat is usually strongest.
Tracking your heart-rate, the most useful stat for athletes looking for insight into their zones and recovery, is it’s main purpose, but the AmpStrip quietly gathers lots of other info. A three-axis accelerometer tracks your cadence, calories burned and sleep, while a Thermistor helps monitors your skin temperature.
Of course, the slight downside to being the size of a large plaster is battery size, but the AmpStrip’s 20mA battery promises to keep going for a week on average, after which it needs an hour on the supplied charging pad to recharge.
Slightly more irksome is that you’ll also need to change its adhesive at the same time to prevent it pulling away from your skin. In the $150 box you get a 3-6 month supply of these, after which you’d need to buy another pack for $30.
While this all makes the AmpStrip slight overkill for couch-to-5km runners, the accuracy and level of detail in its accompanying AmpInsights app (for iOS and Android) makes it pretty appealing for multi-sport athletes and particularly swimmers, who aren’t blessed with unobtrusive heart-rate trackers.
The app contains a ‘snapshot’ of your day’s stats, complete with an insights section to tell you what it all means, plus info on heart-rate zones, training intensity and a ‘trends’ section that showing average heart rates, sleep quality and even stress over time. The AmpStrip is also compatible with third-part apps like Runkeeper and Strava.
The lack of GPS (and all the distance-tracking, elevation and mapping info that can provide) might be a deal-breaker for some, but we’re excited to test what it surely the next step on the road to a cybernetic, fitness-tracking implant. The AmpStrip is available to pre-order now on Indiegogo and will start shipping in June 2015.