Image via Github
Turns out that your webcam is a little more advanced than you think. With the help of an app, it can see things that are invisible to the naked eye – like your heart rate.
The Webcam Pulse Detector locates the user’s face then focuses on the forehead. It takes about 15 seconds for the app to isolate your heartbeat frequency. The process is pretty complicated and is based off MIT’s Eularian Video Magnification, which analyzes periodic color variations in the face to visualize the human pulse.
Now if only this app was built into those TV screens on the treadmill… Read more about the Webcam Pulse Detector at Gizmodo.
Image via Flickr
It’s not a pretty reality, but it’s the truth. When we travel – even around our own hometown – disaster can strike. And it’s not always as simple as placing a call to tell someone that you’re OK.
With our connected society, you’d think it would be easy to get in touch—but cell phone towers are often overcrowded during emergency situations, and the phone lines should be left open for first responders. Try texting, Facebook messaging, or using a service like GroupMe to get in touch with multiple people fast. If you’re the one in the danger zone, people will want to know your whereabouts ASAP. My Facebook news feed was filled with “We’re OK” posts from friends in Boston on Monday afternoon, and I’m so thankful for that.
Another precaution you can take is to change your voicemail message. That way if family tries to reach you and it goes straight to voicemail, they’ll know your safe. Read more tips for how to get in touch with loved ones during a disaster at WIRED’s Gadget Lab.
Image via Flickr
Calorie counting and healthy eating are really no fun, but they can be much more tolerable when you have an app that does it for you. The following apps are free and easy-to-use, so now you’ve really got no excuses.
This one’s best for the grocery store. Pick an item up off the shelf, scan the barcode, then watch Fooducate break it down for you. It ranks items with a grading system, then offers healthier alternatives if the rating are poor.
This app does it all when it comes to counting calories. Scan barcodes of store-bought food for calorie counting, input and save your most popular homemade meals (like my cheese and pepper pasta – yes, I know it’s terrible for me) for future entries, and select menu items from restaurant chains. What else do you need?
Image via Aubre Andrus
I have yet to jump on the activity-tracking bracelet trend mostly because I can’t make a decision.
I’m leaning toward a FitBit Flex but unfortunately it hasn’t even been released yet and the pre-order is already sold out. I’m anxiously awaiting “Spring 2013” – whatever that means. The $99.95 device tracks both my activity and my sleep, which should be interesting.
In the meantime, I’ve decided to track my fitness the old school way. I just wrote big old X’s on a calendar for the days during which I worked out. And you know what? That was a measly 10 days in March. T-E-N. Pathetic. I can come up with every excuse in the book, but there’s nothing more motivating than seeing those stats staring back at you in the face – digital or not.
Image via Roadtrippers
There are plenty of travel apps out there, so what makes Roadtrippers any different? Let me begin:
1. It’s all about adventure. And exploration.
2. Google Maps is integrated so you don’t have to leave the site.
3. It’s all over the board (in a good way).
The web and iPhone app call out unique information along your road trip route like offbeat attractions, vegetarian restaurants, flea markets, and abandoned venues like an empty Six Flags theme park outside of New Orleans. The information is presented with the professionalism of a guidebook but with a bit of proprietary flair. For example, the ‘Rad’-O-Meter lets you know if a visit to a certain attraction is worth your while. And, if you know of a totally rad place, you can submit it to the site.
Read more about Roadtrippers at WIRED.
Image via Kickstarter
I’m sad to say that my bike was recently stolen. AGAIN. But there’s no way that I’m going to live without my two-wheeled transportation once the warm weather rolls around. I’m going to replace my beloved bike! However, this time no one is going to get away with stealing my stuff. If all goes well, the BikeSpike Kickstarter campaign will be funded and save my next purchase.
BikeSpike is a GPS tracker that notifies you – via phone and email – the second something goes awry. Like when your bike starts moving without you on it. Once you’ve digitally “locked” your bike, the accelerometer and GPS chipset pinpoint your wheel’s exact whereabouts. Start the chase by sharing the details with friends and law enforcement on social media and via police report.
The device is attached to your frame with tamper resistant screws, and it can even be strategically hidden behind a custom water bottle cage for maximum security. Pledge $150 now, and BikeSpike can be yours in October. Read more at WIRED.
Image via Flickr
Doing it yourself is satisfying, but it also saves you money. And in this case, it can keep you safe. Here’s a five-step process and some tips for giving your two-wheeled transportation a traditional tune up.
Check for wear and cracks that could lead to blow-outs or slips. Buy a decent pump with a gauge and fill up those wheels.
Clean all of your chains with hot, soapy water. Really get in there and reach the non-visible portions as well. Dry ’em off then oil ’em up.
Give your brake pads a good look and then work on adjusting the cable tension. The brake pads will sit so close to the breaking surface that they almost touch – but they don’t.
Read the rest of the process over at WIRED’s GeekDad.
Image via FitBit
We’ve been patiently covering the activity-tracking trend, and the newest development is particularly covetable. Why hello there, FitBit.
The FitBit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale syncs with your FitBit tracking device to create the ultimate weight loss management set-up. Devices like FitBit Zip or FitBit Flex keep track of your activity and calories while the scale documents your weight and – get this – body fat percentage and BMI. The scale recognizes up to eight users automatically, uploads your data instantly, and converts it into motivational graphs and charts. Plus, there’s even an option to tweet your results or post them on Facebook. Yikes!
Will you jump on the FitBit bandwagon now that a scale has been added to the family? Read more about FitBit’s Smart Scale at WIRED.
Image via Flickr
I turned down my first chance at running the Chicago Marathon this year. Why? I’m going to be traveling through Asia weeks before the race date. Was I realistically going to get a couple 17 mile runs in there while on vacation? No. But I did opt-in for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon instead – that I can train for while traveling, and you can too. Step one: pack your running shoes.
Hit the Treadmill
Research hotels that have workout rooms. You don’t need anything fancy except one working treadmill. If running six or more miles indoors sounds awful, switch up your training by alternating sprints and inclines for a more intense but shorter workout.
Explore through Action
Find a park or a beach or a path that the locals love. I ran four miles along the beach in Miami, 10 miles through downtown Atlanta, and seven miles along a wooded suburban Chicago path. Those are some of my favorite travel memories. MapMyRun can help you.
Take a Class
At the very least, stay active during your travels. Drop in on a workout class that you’ve always been dying to try. Splurge on a class that isn’t available in your hometown. The key is to not lose your training momentum.
Image via Flickr
Spring is nearing which means one thing: outdoor training is in your future. I’ve spent years researching the best belts and holsters for long distance running. I usually come up short – and silent. These products are literally changing my tune:
Nike+ Forearm Sleeve: $30
I’ve never been into the arm holster, but this one actually looks comfortable. The Dri-FIT technology keeps your device clear of the elements and your own sweat. Most importantly, the reflective neon patch keeps you safe.
Winter Hat with Built-In Headphones: $34.99
My ears are always cold, especially during morning runs. The built-in headphones are easily kept in place and the sweat-wicking fabric keeps you dry. I might never take off a hat like this!