5 best fitness gadgets to invest in from CES 2016

11 Jan 2016

Yes, it’s that time of year again when we make another hole in the belt with a screwdriver and seek answers to our Christmas binging with the help of advanced wearable tech.

There’s a lot of fitness tech out there, but it’s so hard to find the best fitness gadgets when you hang your head at the sight of yet another company creating a water bottle that will tell you when to drink, because being thirsty just isn’t good enough.

But every now and then we get to see some gadgets that appear to do what we want them to do, that is, either improve upon tech we are familiar with by ‘smartifying them’, or going left field and giving us an entirely new way to track our vitals and weight loss.

So, as expected, CES 2016 in Las Vegas was awash with different fitness tech gadgets, with some gaining more attention than others.


Well, this will only apply to half of you reading this, but the OMbra is reportedly the latest in smart bra technology, with the company that designed it, OM, saying it has gone through more than 1,600 prototypes to get to the one showcased CES.

The goal of this smart bra, aside from comfort during running or sports, is to be the equivalent of wearing a full body diagnostic on your chest.

What makes it comfortable from a technology standpoint, OM says, is the inclusion of four-way stretchable fabric, breathable mesh, adjustable straps and removable padded cups to cater for various sizes.


The software that will run the OMbra is called OMrun and is capable of tracking the ‘fuel economy’ of you oxygen use, your breathing rhythm, fatigue levels and the usual heart-rate and breathing monitor.

There’s also the handy biometric coach that will learn your body over time and tell you whether you’re taking your foot off the gas, or pushing yourself too hard.

Coming by the end of spring, the only rather worrying aspect of the bra is the considerable cost of $149 (€137) per bra, so this may just be one for the truly dedicated fitness fanatics.

Fitbit Blaze

Also being shown off at CES2016 was Fitbit’s latest fitness wearable to hit the market, Fitbit Blaze.

The company has become pretty synonymous with fitness wearables with its range of bands, but the Blaze is the first time the company has attempted to create a bona fide smartwatch.

Until now, its products’ screens have been minimal, with a basic read-out of information, but now with a screen size comparable with an Apple Watch we get to see this health data presented in a prettier way.

Fitbit Blaze

Some of the features the company is promoting for the smartwatch include its on-screen workout aid, FitStar, which will coach you on a series of fitness regimes, as well as some other additions that have become pretty standard these days, like GPS and its own heart rate monitor, PurePulse.

It’s also geared for everyday use with changeable straps, calls and text notifications, as well as basic music control system.

All of this, when it’s released in two months’ time, will set you back $200 (€184).


Moving away from wearables briefly we have the QardioBase, which turns your weighing scales into something a lot smarter.

Of course, with a smart weighing scale, it’s not just measuring your body weight, but also things like your body mass index (BMI), muscle mass, body fat percentage and even your water and bone composition, which is almost scary in its concept.

Connecting through the companion app allows you to chart your health data on the move, as well as being able to share the data with a fitness coach or doctor to add to the greater amount of health data at the fingertips of medical professionals today.


Depending on how much you’re looking to please an inanimate object, you will either love or loathe the fact that the QardioBase will actually smile or frown at you depending on how you’re doing with your fitness plan.

It also recognises when a different user is on it, or if the person standing on it is pregnant, thereby taking different factors into account.

All-in-all, the Qardio Base will set you back €149.99 from its store.

Under Armour Speedform Gemini 2

Aside from being a mouthful to say, Under Armour Speedform Gemini 2 is just one of a number of pieces of smart fitness gear released by Under Armour at this year’s CES.

The Speedform Gemini 2 smart shoes seem to be a pretty cool take on the smart running shoe.

What I think makes it stand out as a smart running shoe is that it works effectively on its own, without the need to tether it to your phone as you go out running, allowing you to go old-school if you wish.

It is capable of recording up to five successive runs at a time, which can then be uploaded wirelessly when you return home from your run hrough the companion app.

Expecting to ship at the end of the February, they’ll set you back $150 (€138).

Skulpt’s Chisel muscle reader

Based on a medical device used to track degenerative muscles conditions like Lou Gehrig’s disease, a device called the Chisel from Skulpt will allow you to specifically track and analyse your muscle mass rather than your overall body composition.

The small, brick-like device, which came from an Indiegogo campaign that quadrupled its initial target funding, will be able to tell the user a particular muscle’s quality and body fat composition, all with a type of analysis known as electrical impedance myography.

It’s capable of measuring up to 24 different muscles on the body, and this information can then be compiled into the companion app to show an overall picture of your body and where you need to work on, or ease off, ‘pumping the guns’ for a bit.

Again, like many of these products, you can track your health over time and share (or brag) with friends, as well as uploading the information it to Apple Health.

At the moment, the Chisel costs $99 from the company’s Indiegogo page, for delivery for April this year, before they bring up the price to full retail of $149.

Fitness tech uses image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic