Firefly: The Sports Recovery Device

firefly

Exercise can leave you feeling amazing – crossing the finish line, beating a personal best or even just making it all the way around. But the side effects of exerting yourself more than your body is used to can be a surprising kick in the teeth. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness in particular is my least favourite thing about working out – a taster session in Chinese Pole (which I highly recommend) left me unable to raise my hands above my head for a solid week.

Firefly – a high-tech sports recovery tool for athletes – is here to to help. Firefly can reduced DOMS within 24 hours as it increases lower limb blood circulation, accelerating the removal of metabolic waste immediately after strenuous exercise.

Firefly is an alternative to “active recovery” techniques such as going for a light jog the day after or casual swimming. My boxing neighbour will go for a casual 10k run the day after a bout. I’m nothing if not impressed. In addition to DOMS, firefly claim to prevent venous thrombosis and oedema.

Out of the packet firefly looks like a pair of giant plasters. You simply strap the lightweight (16g) devices them behind each knee and they take over – mimicking the blood flow rate of walking while you flow over by the drinks tent. The last thing you want moments after a race/workout is to fiddle and firefly is fiddle free – there are no wires to set up, no smartphones to pair or even any settings to tweak. You simply rip them out of the packet, affix them to your legs (or the common peroneal nerve at the top of the fibula bone if you were curious) and feel the neuromusclar electro-stimulation.

Fitting instructions for the Firefly
Fitting instructions for the Firefly

Firefly is powered by a single wristwatch size battery, with one button control of the on-board software. The straps are unobtrusive and mould to the knee, although they do look a little weird. The adhesive water-based conductive hydrogel is quite secure – I tried a few kicks and cartwheels after application and everything stayed in place. After running 10k for an LGBT Pride event, I felt perfectly fine to teach a 2 hours capoeira class and cycle 10 miles across London. That may not be the most scientific test available but I certainly felt lighter. 

Firefly aren’t messing around – they have been actively targeting elite athletes for and had a number of Team GB, premiership footballers and rugby players as happy users. Mike Alsop – runner of 7 marathons in 7 days across 7 continents (and quite possibly world’s fittest man) is a big fan.

Each application lasts 24 hours, after which you simply throw the device away. This felt more than a little wasteful – especially when one pair will set you back £20-30. Then again if you are a serious amateur or pro level runner, these costs are minimal.

TomTom GPS Sports Watches: Exercise and Technology – the Perfect Fit?

TomTom-GPS-Sports-Watch

I’m more active that you might expect for someone who edits a gadget website and spends all day and I love any chance I get to combine exercise and technology. I’ve tried many a pedometer the FitBit One being a current favourite) and I love my Withings wireless scales. But one of the coolest fitness I’ve used was the Nike Sportswatch powered by TomTom. So I was interested to hear that TomTom was coming out with a new product that “completely re-designs the GPS Sport Watch.”

TomTom-Running-Man

The new, ultra-slim (11.5 mm) TomTom Runner and TomTom Multi-Sport GPS sport watches feature an extra-large,high-resolution and high-contrast display, full-screen graphical training tools and the headline feature one-button control so it’s easy to access information without slowing down.

Swimming-Sports-Watch

“We know that most GPS watches on the market are too bulky and complicated to use while training. Runners and multi-sport athletes can now view their performance information at-a-glance, making it easier to achieve their fitness goals.”
Corinne Vigreux, managing director, TomTom Consumer.

GPS-Woman-Running

The new watches feature TomTom’s Graphical Training Partner – basically easy-to-read full-screen graphics so you can optimise your workouts with access to relevant information. There are graphical training modes: Run, Goal and Zone. The one button controls are great for navigating key stats (and also just for controlling your watch), especially when running, swimming or cycling (I hate fiddling with buttons in the rain or through cycling gloves). TomTom claim you can use the battery for up to 10 hours in GPS mode which is more than fine for my stamina levels.

TomTom-Cycling

Another great feature is the ability to accurately track indoor runs using built-in sensors to count strides, so your treadmill runs aren’t “lost”. Rather than locking your data down to a proprietary platform you can sync, analyse and share stats on popular running sites and community platforms, including the TomTom MySports website, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, TrainingPeaks and MyFitnessPal. Long-lasting battery: Up to 10-hour battery life (GPS Mode)

The TomTom Runner and TomTom Multi-Sport will be available in Summer 2013. For more information head to TomTom.

AblePlanet’s Clear Harmony Sport Earphone SP1150 review

The loneliness of the long-distance runner is something I’m intimately familar with (And the middle distance runner. And the short distace runner. And when sprinting for the bus. Basically I’m very lonely). I not a big fan of running in the best of circumstances but I **hate** running when I’ve left my headphones behind. The endless monotony of the task in hand (especially on a treadmill) is borderline unbearable. But not all headphones are up to the task of keeping me entertained why I try to jog myself thin. Sweat has been know to attack certain headphones of mine. Even worse poor fitting earbuds have been prone to fall out. I should probably mention that I’m an amateur traceur as well so I’m a little more demanding than your average runner, and the last thing I need on a jump is worring about headphones falling out of my ears.

Able-Planet-SP1150

Enter AblePlanet’s Clear Harmony Sport Earphone (the SP1150 to be precise). It’s pretty clear from the moment you lay eyes on them that AblePlanet take their sports earphones pretty seriously. The Clear Harmony has an incredibly well designed earloop that feels more like a hearing aid than an earphone – I mean that as a compliment. The ComfortFit sound isolation tips block exterior sound and create as you’d expect a custom fit. There’s a very secure feeling as it clicks behind your ear and I tried a variety of shakes, wiggles and even a headspin without managing to dislodge them. Much like a telemarketing campaign, that’s a ringing endorsement.

So the sports part is pretty rock solid. How about the earphone side of the equation? Well the SP1150s come loaded with Patented LINX AUDIO®, Hear the Difference® technology, which is “Award-Winning”. In practical terms, this means that they sound pretty fantastic, with full rich bass sounds, clear high tones and intelligible speech (unless of course you have your mumblecore playlist on full blast).

All in all, a thunderingly good pair of earphones.

AblePlanet’s Clear Harmony Sport Earphone SP1150 are yours for $189.99 from AblePlanet.

Swann’s SportsCam Mini Video Camera: Video recording for adrenaline junkies

Swann is a familiar name to us here at Latest Gadgets, but usually it’s in association with security-type cameras, so we were quite surprised to discover that the company has launched a mini video camera aimed at anyone who films sports and recreational activities.

Swann-SportsCam

Be that as it may what does Swann’s SportsCam Mini Video Camera offer you? ‘Built for the adrenaline junky in all of us’ says Swann, it comes in a shockproof and waterproof (up to 20m) case, has 640 x 480 video and offers up to five hours of recording time.

Cyclists, skiers and other active types will be glad to know that the Swann SportsCam waterproof camcorder comes with a host of mounting options, including Velcro straps, sport-clip, double clipper, and multi-clip.

You can upload your action-packed videos to your favourite sharing sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Myspace, and the SportsCam can also double as a webcam for use on messenger services such as Skype, MSN and Yahoo.

Video is recorded to Micro SD card (which you’ll have to buy separately) and transferred to a PC via USB connection. The lithium-ion rechargeable battery is charged via PC USB and offers up to 2.5 hours of recording time per charge.

The SportsCam can be bought for around £99.99 inc. Head to www.swannsecurity.com for more.

‘Get the edge’ on competitors and fellow spectators with the latest sports apps

As the weather warms up so do the joggers, who are coming out of the woodwork fast and furious, all determined to shed a few pounds before that much anticipated summer holiday. In-conjunction with the warmer weather and increasing number of joggers seen pounding the streets, is the escalating number of sports apps being produced. Given their surge in popularity, our sport-loving readers may appreciate being informed about three of the more inventive sports apps currently available.

Sports-Apps
Image courtesy of Flickr user MShades

The Fun Run Trainer app

Now let’s be honest treadmills are painfully boring. Recognising this fact are the creators of the Fun Run Trainer app, which enables runners to execute their training runs virtually anywhere in the world, with virtual being the operative word.

Users are represented by a cursor and placed almost anywhere in the world, via a Google Earth satellite map. Runners can then carry out their run on courses such as the Katy Trail, Missouri’s most famous run, or the Champs-Elysees in Paris, to make their run on the treadmill infinitely more enjoyable. The app can also be used as a serious training aid, as, by providing users with 200 complete international race courses, runners can complete their training on the course, as distinct advantage over their competitors.

To transform your treadmill training session, or to ‘get the edge’ on competitors, the Fun Run Trainer app, can be downloaded for free here

Tiger Woods: My Swing

He might not be able to keep his pecker in his pants, but you have to admit it, Tiger Woods is a great golfer. For any budding golfer looking to improve their swing, the Tiger Woods: My Swing app may prove an invaluable tool. A series of videos and instructions by Mr Woods himself are designed to help golfers of all abilities improve their game. Talking about his legendary app, the golfing maestro said:

“I believe practise and analysis are the keys to improving your game. The app also includes all the tools necessary to analyse and break down your swing, and best of all you don’t need another set of eyes or expensive equipment to do it.”

Although hoping the Tiger Woods: My Swing app could be downloaded for free, would be expecting a little too much from the ‘first reported athlete to become a billionaire’, as this golfing tool can be downloaded for $9.99

Formula One 2011

Now this one might be cheating a little, as it’s not really meant for those participating in the sport, but really for those who follow it. Nonetheless, following on from the success of last year’s 2010 app, Formula1.com has revamped its app so it now enables motor racing enthusiasts to keep on top of what is going on the world of Formula One. As well as providing result listings and fixture dates, users are provided with straight line speeds, text commentary, and a circuit data screen which shows up-to-the-minute air and track temperatures, humidity levels, air pressure, rainfall and wind speed and direction.

If your love for Formula One borders on the obsessive, this comprehensive app will be the ideal companion whilst watching the race and can be downloaded here:

Jabra ACTIVE headset: Making keep fit a little more fun

Let’s face it, nearly all of us are sports enthusiasts in early January. But what cuts the serious from those on an exercising whim, is that the latter’s impulse has almost always been vanquished come February. This is where the Jabra ACTIVE may step in, or may at least thwart the inevitable from occurring for a couple more months.

Jabra-Active

This rugged, splash-proof, crystal-clear sound producing corded headset is the perfect accessory to aid you in your New Year fitness quest. You may feel like keeling over and giving up, but the motivational tunes blasting out into your eardrums or the pep talk from a personal trainer via a mobile phone, will give you the motivation to keep going.

A headsets’ tendency to fall out of a jogger’s ear can be quite off-putting to say the least, but with these ergonomically designed earphones that ‘lock’ into the ear, means surreptitiously tip-toeing the streets in fear of losing you headphones can be replaced by sheer pounding and vigour.

If your excuse to not doing any exercise is fear of missing that all important phone call, then your excuse has just been annihilated, as the Jabra ACTIVE’s control box allows you to easily switch from music to chat, ensuring you never miss an important call. If one song isn’t proving too inspiring, the ACTIVE’s control box also allows for simple track skipping, enabling you to instantly boost a workout with a more uplifting tune.

The Jabra ACTIVE headset is compatible with most phones including Blackberry, Motorola, Apple and LG. An adaptor is included in the box, guaranteeing compatibility with Sony Eriksson, Samsung and Nokia.
Being available in white, black or yellow and costing just £39.99, the Jabra ACTIVE new corded headset could be a great gift for all those fashion-conscious exercising fanatics in your life – even if their fitness venture doesn’t make the spring.

Lights, Camera, Action – The best action cameras available

Capturing the terrifying yet exciting concoction of feelings produced by participating in extreme sports on camera is priceless, but naturally requires an extremely durable and rugged piece of equipment. Action Cam (pictured) that features standard definition action thrills for only £24.99. If you are looking for something a bit more high-end however, latestgadgets have come up with the most dependable photographic companion to accompany those crazy enough to take part in such white-knuckle, adrenaline-pumping sports.

Action-Head-Cam

Oregon Scientific ATC9K HD Video Camera
Designed solely with extreme sport enthusiasts in mind, the new ATC9K has both a G-sensor and GPS module crammed into its interior, allowing tracking and recording of the geographical and physical aspects of thrill-seekers escapades, and not merely the visual.

Recognizing the difficulty of switching a camera onto play mode when you are hurtling down the side of a mountain, Oregon Scientific have included a one button recording feature and a laser pointer to line up the action, regardless of the precarious places the ATC9K might be attached to. Weighing 160g, the ATC9K is shock resistant and waterproof for up to 20 meters, but manages to retain an attractive exterior despite being such a sturdy device. The camera takes five mega-pixel photos and records up to 1080p of high-definition video.

The ATC9K costs £249.99, which includes mounting accessories. GPS plug-in can bought for an extra £49.99.

Drift HD170
Pioneered by Drift, the HD170 is similar to the ATC9K, in providing 5 mega-pixel photos and 1080p, 720 or WVGA high-definition video settings. But what is particularly favourable with this action camera compared to many others on the market is that users can benefit from a 170-degree wide-angle lens, which we presume gives the camera its name. The lens can be rotated at a 300 degree angle, optimizing the field view of the action.

Other features to make life easier for the adrenaline junkies amongst us includes RF remote saves batteries, memory and edit time by making it easy to shoot briefer clips. The RF remote also starts and stops recording safely to avoid the possibility of brawling with the camera on the go. A 4X Digital zoom also enables the HD170 to get closer to the action.
The Drift HD170 is more expensive at £329.99, which we assume is because of its rather special lens.

GoPro HD Helmet Hero 1080P
Marketed as being the world’s first true 1080p HD wearable camera with 30 frames per second recording, the HD Helmet Hero 1080P capitalizes on resolution, clarity and realism – the essence behind the reasons of employing an action camera.
The wider the field of view is with wearable cameras the better, to allow extreme sportsmen and women to visualise not only their own personal techniques but the techniques of rivals. With a 1280x960p resolution the HD Helmet Hero gives users the largest field of view of any wearable camera.

This GoPro wearable camera has protective waterproof casing, which not only protects the camera from the most aggressive of journeys but is also waterproof up to 60 meters under water, some 40 more than the ATC9K, making it a firm favourite for deep sea divers.

Retailing at £299.99 the GoPro HD Helmet Hero 1080P is reasonably priced, although without any viewfinder, knowing what you are filming may prove difficult.

TWIG: StumbleUpon, FaceBook Places, Action Cam

The Week In Gadgets

This week saw a number of interesting announcements centring about the Internet. And a Head camera.

Action-Head-Cam

Wired editor Chris Anderson did a Nas and proclaimed that the Web was dead, before a number of companies and columnists rose to dispute his claim. At the same time StumbleUpon released a mobile app for Android and iPhone handsets, which I found pertinent as the original incarnation of StumpleUpon helped me to “rediscover” the Internet and brought weird and wonderful websites to my attention longer before social sharing on sites such as Twitter and FaceBook and in mobile form should be ideal for “lost moments” waiting for buses or idly loitering. Speaking of which, both these social networking Titans unveiled changes, with Twitter hoping to making finding people easier via the “You Both Follow” feature. Facebook released the geolocation based Facebook Places, bringing the annoyance of FourSquare and GoWalla check-ins into your timeline. It will probably be huge. According to Facebook, “with Places, you can discover moments when you and your friends are at the same place at the same time”. Thank goodness someone created a solution to that problem. Places is US only at the moment but will spread to these shores soon enough.

In the office, we took at look at Logitech’s G series of gaming hardware, for the hardcore PC gamer. We also had some quality time with the Linksys WAG320N router, a pretty robust networking solution that fulfils all your Network Admin dreams (you do have Network Admin dreams don’t you?) saved some money with Current Cost and reviewed some iPod docks.

My favourite gadget out this week was the Action Cam from Chilli Technology (pictured). Basically a medium res video camera you strap to your head, the Action Cam is a great way to capture action (or indeed arty) video shots. The Action Cam has a CMOS 1.3 MP sensor, records at 640×480 at 30 fps and takes up to 32GB of SD Card based storage. Of course there are many head cams on the market already, but the Action Cam is only £24.99, putting it in the hands of “ordinary” extreme sports enthusiasts. Footage from skiing holidays, cycling trips all possible and you can even try and recreate the Jigsaw Falling Into Place video

You should be able to pick one up from Amazon UK.