It's one thing to present fascinating new technologies to the gadget-happy masses. It's another thing when you refine existing technologies to help people improve their lives in new ways. The Fitbit merges existing products into a new suite of tools that may help you get into better physical shape.
The central product driving the Fitbit is a small accelerometer (similar to the one in Nintendo's Wii controllers) that clips onto your clothing. As you move throughout the day, Fitbit tracks how much physical activity you performed. During the day, you can access your personal Fitbit Web page and enter the types and quantities of food you eat. And at bedtime, you slip the device into a wristband to track the quality of your sleep.
Every time you pass the wireless base station, your Fitbit transmits data to your account on Fitbit.com. There, you can see how many calories you've burned, the number of steps you've taken, calorie intake and sleep quality. Because the Fitbit works best for walking motion and isn't waterproof, you can't use it for activities such as bicycling or swimming; however, you can enter these activities manually in your online profile.
Ultimately, Fitbit is a painless way to see how your physical activity, diet, and resting habits affect your overall quality of life. Unlike similar devices, it costs only $99, and there's no recurring fee to use the Web site.
If you can fit it into your routine, Fitbit will take the guesswork out of tracking your exercise and eating behaviors. With numbers and goal-setting metrics at your fingertips, you'll have access to a tool that encourages consistently better lifestyle choices.