Digital Crave

Larklife and fitness-tracking gadgets: New Year’s resolution, take two?

View gallery

.
Larklife bands

Larklife bands

Like so many other well-intentioned souls, I came into 2013 with the firm intention of getting healthier. Among my many New Year's resolutions was the solemn pledge to eat less, exercise more and generally take care of myself a little better.

My plan lasted about a week and a half, as usual. (Maybe I should just resolve to be more self-delusional.) Talking with friends and fellow aspirants who had had more success, I kept hearing the same thing: The first step to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is really a matter of data logging. Track your diet and exercise habits, and you can start changing behavior.

So I was excited to get a chance to test out the new fitness-tracking system Larklife ($149; lark.com) one of many gadget-and-app devices on the market that promise to help you get healthy. Better living through technology and all that.

View gallery

.
Larklife

Larklife

Larklife is a combination wristband and smartphone app that syncs over Bluetooth. Two wristbands, actually – one for daytime and one for night, each with its own rechargeable battery. The core sensor component clicks in and out and can be swapped between the two. (This allows you to charge the daytime bracelet at night, and vice versa).

Once you've charged up the bracelet and sync'd up with the smartphone app, Larklife goes to work. It tracks your activity during the day by way of an internal accelerometer. Take a walk or a jog and it will log time, distance and calories burned automatically.

You can also track meals through the Larklife system. Unlike the more complicated calorie-counting and meal-tracking apps out there, Larklife simply asks that you double-click the wristband button whenever you eat something. Then you can go back to the phone app later to fill in the details. You can log basic food types – protein, vegetable, fruit or grain, plus water – or enter more detailed information if you wish.

You're also encouraged to register your mental health breaks that aren't necessarily exercise. Whenever you take a deliberate break from working, to stretch or make a visit or whatever you prefer, Larklife tracks this as well, and adds it to your daily timeline.

View gallery

.
Screenshot of sleep app

Screenshot of sleep app

The fourth basic data collection point is sleep. When you hit the hay, the Larklife accelerometer tracks when you fall asleep, when you're tossing and turning, and when you wake. The wristband also has a vibration function that serves as a silent alarm clock, a nice option for anyone who shares a bed.

The essential purpose of all this data-collecting is to track your habits. You meals, workouts, active breaks and sleep periods are displayed by way of little sequential bubbles that stack up each day of tracking. Turn your phone sideways and the day's activity turns into a bar graph, with total calories burned, steps taken, distance traveled and hours spent sleeping.

After a few days of logging information, Larklife starts to get a sense of your patterns, then begins making recommendations. You can set the device to issue regular "coach messages" on diet and exercise. Or set a regular gentle vibration to remind you that it's time to get up and away from that desk. A single click on the LED wristband sensor, at any time, will indicate how active you've been recently.

The Larklife wristband is comfortable enough, but a bit too clunky for my taste. It's also brightly colored and rather conspicuous. I don't like wristwatches to begin with, and found the band to be intrusive when typing. Competing fitness-tracking systems from Nike and Jawbone have a slimmer and more attractive form factor.

I'm getting used to it, though. For me, the ultimate appeal of Larklife as a system is its simplicity. The app interface and tutorials are dead-simple and graphically oriented. It's all tapping and swiping. You can log more specifics on each day's activities – calorie counts, workout details – but you don't have to.

What Larklife does effectively is help create a mindfulness of your daily routine. Wristband and app sync up every hour so you can drop in whenever, to see what condition your condition is in. If tracking habits is indeed the first step to making healthy changes – and I'm starting to believe that it is – then Larklife is a useful bit of wearable technology.

If you're prone to mild paranoia, it's also the next step to our cyborg future of ultimate man-machine interface. But I'm getting used to that idea, too.

Note: This was written by Glenn McDonald, a Digital Crave contributor.

Check out more tech trends and news at Digital Crave.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • United Airlines stopped girls in yoga leggings from boarding flight

      As boarding incident gains social-media traction, airline explains the passengers in question were flying on passes typically used by employees and their families.

      MarketWatch q
    • These teen girls were told to cover up on a United Airlines flight because they were wearing leggings

      Get ready to feel your blood boil, friends. Early Sunday morning, an anti-gun violence advocate named Shannon Watts began tweeting about a…

      Hello Giggles
    • 7 Outdated Clothing Items Men Need to Immediately Throw Out

      Instead of waiting to do your annual spring cleaning, take the initiative now. If you see any of these items in your closet, it's time to remove them ASAP.

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • 'I'm not going to deny that': Congressman responds to report that Trump said he was 'destroying the Republican Party'

      Rep. Charlie Dent on Sunday would not deny a report that President Donald Trump told the...

      Business Insider
    • Nadal celebrates 1,000th match with hard-fought win in Miami

      Former world number one Rafael Nadal suffered a first-set bagel but stormed back to reach the fourth round.

      Omnisport
    • Christina El Moussa faces fans fury for 'inappropriate' bikini photo with daughter: 'What mother does this?'

      Flip Or Flop co-host Christina El Moussa has landed in hot water over a recent Instagram picture. Fans of the reality TV star flipped after she shared a bikini-clad picture with her seven-year-old daughter Taylor, and took to the picture-sharing site to criticise her "sickening ways". "Welcome to the family!!" the El Moussa matriarch had captioned the adorable picture celebrating the arrival of the newest member of the family – a French bulldog named Cashie.

      International Business Times
    • Vegas Strip shooting (12 photos)

      Authorities say a Montana man was shot and killed on a Las Vegas bus before the gunman barricaded himself in the vehicle, shutting down the Strip for hours. The Clark County coroner’s office identified the victim Sunday as 57-year-old Gary Breitling of Sidney, Montana. He died at a hospital shortly after the gunfire was reported Saturday. Police haven’t released information on the suspect, who surrendered peacefully after a standoff inside the double-decker bus that lasted more than four hours. The bus had stopped on the Strip near the Cosmopolitan hotel-casino, forcing the heart of the tourism corridor to shut down until Saturday night. Another victim suffered injuries that weren’t life-threatening. (AP) See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr.

      Yahoo News Photo Staff
    • Watch the US Navy test its ultra-powerful electromagnetic railgun

      Anyone who's played a futuristic shooter since the dawn of video games knows that when you see something called a "railgun" you're in for a real treat. Well, the US Navy built a railgun of its very own , and it just showed off its remarkably powerful creation in a new video of its test firing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=106&v=Pi-BDIu_umo Railguns like the one the Navy has built trade chemical propellants like gunpowder for the sheer power of electricity, generating extremely strong magnetic fields to push a projectile down a set of rails and out the end of the barrel. It might not sound particularly efficient, but the speeds that railgun projectiles can achieve put traditional cannons to shame. The Navy's massive weapon, for example, launches its rounds at a whopping 4,500 mph. Additionally, the projectiles launched by the railgun do their damage not by exploding, but simply by striking their target while moving at such a high speed, quite literally tearing apart anything they come into contact with. For most of their history, railguns have been more fiction than science, and their practicality and reliability has repeatedly been questioned over time. The size of the device itself is typically massive, owing to the large and complex electronic components required to supply the necessary power. However, there are also some pretty fantastic benefits of the non-explosive rounds, such as much less chance of unexploded ordnance causing problems either on the ship or vehicle firing the weapon, or on the battlefield after a skirmish has ended.

      BGR News
    • [video]Sears Has Finally Admitted That It's Almost Dead

      This zombie retailer is on its deathbed.

      TheStreet.com q
    • Iggy Azalea Goes Twerk Crazy in New 'Mo Bounce' Music Video

      The 26-year-old rapper knows how to work it.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • United Airlines Tried to Bar Girls From Flight for Wearing Leggings

      On a flight from Denver to Minneapolis early Sunday morning, Shannon Watts observed a United Airlines gate agent refuse to allow two young girls on the plane because they were wearing leggings. 1) A @united gate agent isn't letting girls in leggings get on flight from Denver to Minneapolis because spandex is not allowed? Watts objected to the policy, saying that it sexualizes young girls who were simply wearing comfortable clothing.

      Yahoo Style
    • This customer-invented secret drink got so popular at Starbucks it’s now officially on the menu!

      Starbucks has always given us what we want. From our beloved pumpkin spice lattes in the fall to newly released breakfast items,…

      Hello Giggles
    • Trump's border-wall proposal faces many obstacles

      WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has now laid out exactly what he wants in the "big, beautiful wall" that he's promised to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. But his effort to build a huge hurdle to those entering the U.S. illegally faces impediments of its own.

      Associated Press
    • Ask Amy: My husband told me to ‘get over it,’ so here’s my plan

      DEAR AMY: I have been married for 33 years. I love my husband, but I have totally enabled him — to the point where I am now feeling abused. For instance, this morning, he was in a minor car accident. Through my business relationships, I have an excellent contact in the repair business, and so I kindly took his car in, gave him mine to use in the interim and picked up the rental. I asked him to drive the rental so I could have my car back, and he refused. I told him I felt used. He basically said I should get over it. Because of my family background and decades of behaving this way, I am now at the point where I feel incredibly put upon because of all of the expectations, as well as the total

      MercuryNews.com q
    • Christina El Moussa Fights Back Against Mom Shamers: 'Thanks For Your Concern aka Judgment'

      The 'Flip or Flop' star isn't afraid to stand up for herself.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Canada man's last name ruled too 'misogynistic' for license plate by DOT

      The plate spells out a driver's last name, but that did not stop the Department of Transportation from canceling the plate.

      WABC – NY
    • FBI searches for teen feared to have been abducted, gang-raped and fed to alligators

      The FBI have searched a remote rural location hoping to find clues about the disappearance of a 17-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted, gang-raped, shot and then fed to alligators. The bureau was searching a rural area of South Carolina on Friday (24 March) in connection to the disappearance of Brittannee Drexel, which occurred almost eight years ago. Last summer Taquan Brown, who is serving 25 years for an unrelated manslaughter case, testified that Drexel was abducted, gang-raped and then shot dead when she tried to escape in 2009.

      International Business Times
    • Under Armour Just Teased the Release of $300 Sneakers That May Be Its Coolest Looking Ones Ever

      Don't even try to knock this one from Under Armour, sneaker heads.

      The Street q
    • Orange Is the New Black's Star Samira Wiley Weds Show Writer Lauren Morelli

      Here come the brides, all dressed in white! Orange is the New Black star Samira Wiley has said "I do" to one of the show's writers Lauren Morelli, and both brides opted not to pay tribute to the title of series that brought them together -- at least where the dress colors were concerned. Per Martha ... Read More > Other Links From TVGuide.com Orange Is the New Black Samira Wiley This article, Orange Is the New Black 's Star Samira Wiley Weds Show Writer Lauren Morelli, originally appeared on TVGuide.com.

      TV Guide q
    • People are freaking out that United told women they couldn't wear leggings on a flight — here's what really happened

      United Airlines refused to let two women board a flight on Sunday because they were wearing...

      Business Insider