Second That Motion: Gesture Controlled Fitness Coach

Who wants to deal with sweaty MP3 player controls while running? It’s a hassle to try to switch songs mid-workout, and that’s why designer Adrien Guenette created Beat, a gesture-controlled music player you wear on your wrist that keeps your workout going smoothly. Beat isn’t just a music player, though – it’s a fitness companion that also tracks your heart rate, keeps track of the distance you’ve gone and tells you how much longer you have to go before your workout is finished.

Beat works by reading your gestures and navigating through your music library accordingly. A bump to the right for the next song, a bump to the left for the previous song. A twist to the left or right adjusts the volume and a fish brought straight down pauses and un-pauses the music. The player is smart and learns which songs particularly get you going. When you start lagging, it can push you to stay strong by calling up one of those songs when you make a straight-ahead punching motion.

Of course, Beat doesn’t just read your natural jogging-related arm motions as commands. It comes with an adjustable ring containing a button that has to be pushed to let the main unit know you mean whatever move you’re making.

After your workout is done, you can plug the USB connector – which is integrated in the Beat’s wristband – straight into your computer to download your workout information and sync your music. The ring docks on the back of the wristband to charge, so there are no cords to keep track of and no chargers to add to the clutter on your desk.

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See more in Audio & TV or under Gadgets. June, 2011.