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Fitness tracker tech makes you ditch the car

Jawbone and Automatic team up for wearables project
May 19, 2014
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It's very easy to jump in the car to travel a mile or two to pick up a carton of milk, but a new partnership between Jawbone, the maker of the Up fitness band, and Automatic, maker of an activity tracker for cars, aims to put a stop to unnecessary driving.

Simple but effective

The idea is simple but very clever: Once synced with the Up app, data from Automatic will let you know how many steps you could have earned towards your daily count if you'd have laced up your trainers and ran instead of taken the car. This turns a nagging guilt into an actual number. Speaking to Wired, Ljuba Milijkovic, chief product officer at Automatic, said, "People know they're supposed to walk more, but when you put a number in front of it, they become aware and mindful."

The Automatic dongle plugs into your vehicle's dashboard, sharing information such as speed, travel time, and fuel consumption into the Jawbone Up app. Automatic says that by users logging in other variables, such as mood and meals, they will be able to see how their health habits are affected while on the road, which will provide encouragement to only travel on four wheels when absolutely necessary.

automatic-dongle body

The Automatic dongle plugs into your dash

Data that means something

With this new partnership, Jawbone is showing an understanding of the type of data wearable fitness technology needs to give us to be useful. Simple statistics and figures can detail our movements, but without necessarily providing a bigger picture, namely quite how our fitness and wellbeing is affected.

Automatic integration with Jawbone works with both the iOS and Android versions of the app, which are both free, while the Automatic dongle will set you back $99.95.

Photo: Maridav/Shutterstock

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