Tracking more than steps in 2014


  • TECH
  • Monday, 01 Dec 2014

FITNESS FIRST: Fitness apps like Withings and Fitbit were extremely popular this year.

It's been a year of fitness tracking fever. As more and more wearable trackers emerged, so did new functions that tracked much more than steps, giving way to what can be considered wellness tracking in a larger sense. We're taking a look back. 

Bolstered by progress made by companies like Withings and Fitbit, who were among the first to offer sleep tracking, this feature became an expectation from wearables in 2014.

Given statistics on shrinking sleep in many developed countries, the interest in sleep tracking is hardly surprising, although predicting where that would lead proved more difficult.

A shift in focus from physical health to that of the mind makes 2014 a singular year in activity tracking. 

For example, a stress management wearable called the Muse headband hit the market, and anti-anxiety apps such as Anxiety Free and Worry Box came tumbling in.

After tapping consumer interest in relieving stress, the industry saw an influx of apps that track mood just like fitness trackers count steps. Standouts include ThriveTracker, Mood Panda and EmotionSense, while emoji are called in to track moods in the new app Emojiary, a sort of emotion-tracking journal. 

Bright, pleasant colors and gamification help to shed common stigma pertaining to mental health issues.

If all that isn't enough, 2014 saw a start-up called Thync announce a mood-changing wearable and its hefty venture capital backing simultaneously, appearing out of the haze. 

Between the impressive resumes on its team roster and the USS13mil (RM44.5mil) they've been given to develop the product, everybody's talking about Thync.

Physician and meditation guru Dr. Deepak Chopra even got in on the game: he released a mental health app called The Non Local and, according to Engadget, has a wearable tracker in the works. — AFP/RelaxNews 2014

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