Runtastic adds weight scale, audio narratives

By Jonah Comstock
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Runtastic LIBRASan Francisco-based fitness app maker Runtastic made headlines last year for taking the somewhat unusual step of adding its own hardware -- a GPS watch and chest strap -- to supplement its popular fitness app. Now the company is adding another device -- a wirelessly connected, body fat-tracking weight scale. The company also announced the availability of a new narrative feature called story running.

The Bluetooth Smart-enabled scale, called the Runtastic LIBRA, measures seven health metrics: weight, body fat, muscle mass, body mass index, body water content, calorie calculation, and bone mass. It also lets users set weight goals and measure progress against them. Data from the scale can be sent to a special iOS app or to Runtastic's website.

Up to eight different users can have accounts on the same scale. On the website, data from the scale can be integrated with data from other Runtastic apps and devices.

A number of companies in the quantified self space offer smart, connected weight scales including Withings, Fitbit, and iHealth. Runtastic adding the device furthers its potential transition into a hardware competitor, as supposed to solely an app maker.

Story Running seems to follow the lead of blockbuster running app Zombies, Run!from British developer Six to Start. Like Zombies, Run!, Runtastic's Story Running will provide runners with an auditory narrative experience that incorporates their run into the story.

"Perfectly aligned sound effects accompany the stories based on interval training plans to push the user to new top performances in a playful and natural fashion," Runtasic writes in a press release. "Thanks to the human sense of urgency, the runner will instinctively know when to speed up or slow down his or her pace."

The app will include four different experiences in different genres: a travel story that takes the runner to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, an adventure story about escaping from Alcatraz prison, a fantasy story about seeking magical artifacts to save the world, and a motivational personal coach.