I just got back from CES, and boy is it great to be back where there aren’t over 150,000 people competing for Internet access. As it turned out, I walked close to two marathons in Las Vegas during during my week at the show.
Lots of people asked me what cool things I’d seen at the show, and I’d find myself repeatedly reaching into my pocket and pulling out my Striiv. (Full disclosure: I was provided with a review unit.) I’ve tried a lot of fitness devices, and I was sometimes wearing three at once during CES, but this was by far my favorite. It’s hard to make technology well, but it’s even harder to make technology fun. [Editor’s Note: GeekMom Amy Kraft has also given Striiv a thumb’s up.]
The Striiv is a small pedometer with a touch screen interface. It’s available from Amazon for a retail price of $99. The charge lasts approximately one week, and it uses a generic USB interface for charging and logging activity. It also comes with a keychain or belt holder. Out of curiosity, I left it in my pajama pockets as I slept, and it logged no steps from my tossing and turning, but it did just fine logging steps – a lot of steps – on the CES floor.
Ok, so it logs steps. What’s so special about that?
The Striiv interface logs steps and also gives you equivalent stairs, miles, and calories and tracks your averages over time. That’s great info, but just getting raw data isn’t enough. Striiv makes it fun. It awards badges for achievements like burning off an ice cream sundae or walking the distance of the Grand Canyon. You can also play a gardening game that uses the power of your foot energy to grow plants and bring back virtual animals to your own enchanted island.
Every Day Is a Walkathon
One of the most motivating features I found was the real world charity donations. You can choose between clean water, rain forest preservation, or polio vaccines. Once you walk enough, your steps will achieve real-world donations to your chosen causes from Striiv and corporate partners. Don’t feel motivated to walk for yourself? Walk to provide a child with clean drinking water or a polio vaccine.
When you check your steps, you’ll sometimes be offered extra challenges, like reach 114 steps in five minutes. You make a point bet that you can complete the challenge within the time limit, and you’re rewarded if you succeed but penalized if you fail. You can also spin the wheel and give yourself challenges anytime you feel like it. If you have a friend or spouse with a Striiv, you can make bets with each other (over short range and only with the newest devices).
In short, if you’re shopping for a pedometer, don’t settle for dry data. Find a device that motivates you to move. The Striiv has it, and I saw nothing but raves from the people using them, including Christy Matte, the fellow mom blogger and educational technologist who first showed me her Striiv and told me I just had to meet the company. She was right.