Basis Band now knows when you walk, run, bike

By Jonah Comstock
06:00 am
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Basis Band Body IQBasis Science has added some new passive tracking features to its Basis Band activity tracker. After downloading a firmware update, a new feature called Body IQ will allow users to passively track when they are walking, running, and biking.

"We focus on trying to make data collection as passive as possible for people," Basis Director of Marketing Damon Miller told MobiHealthNews. "What that means is, you put it on and the multisensor approach and algorithms are able to capture all your activity and all your sleep. ... What Body IQ does is it takes it to another level. We capture not just overall activity, but specific activities like walking, running or biking ... automatically. We do the work for you, to make it easier."

While other wearable trackers, like the Misfit Shine, track different activities, they don't automatically determine which is going on. There are a few options on the market for passive tracking that differentiates movement types. ProtoGeo's Moves touts that functionality, although it's an app and not a wearable device. Nintendo's new Fit Meter will track running, walking, and climbing automatically -- but not biking. For apps, that sort of passive tracking may soon become commoditized, since it's part of the functionality of Apple's new M7 motion co-processor.

Miller said the passive tracking and activity differentiation is important to facilitate adoption and retention. It's the same approach Basis takes to sleep tracking: Unlike many other trackers that the user has to set on sleep mode, Basis detects that the user is sleeping based on vitals and activity reading and automatically changes modes.

"We know when you've actually fallen asleep without you having to push buttons or switch modes," said Miller. "It's really about that auto-classification and making it easier for people throughout their day."

Users will be able to see information about what activity they were doing on a timeline at the end of the day, where they can also check it against the other data that Basis collects.

Basis dashboard

"We automatically tag those specific activities like walking, running, and biking in that chart for you," said Miller. "So you can get a better understanding of what kind of caloric burn, what kind of heart rate increases, even what kind of perspiration level changes you see during those specific activities."

Basis is so keen on the low-touch approach that it's even adding some functionality for people who forget to wear the band entirely. After the new update, the band will automatically add an estimate of calories users burned during times when they forgot to wear the device. Users can count those calories toward their daily goals.

The company raised $12 million last month and hired a new VP of product with a background in gamification. Prior to that, it launched its long-delayed companion app -- for Android first -- in June. The company followed up in July with a stripped-down version of the software for iOS, as well as support for additional Android devices.

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