07/11/2014

Jawbone introduces Move and UP3

Jawbone the company that specialises in Bluetooth devices has launched two new activity trackers, the Move and the UP3.

The Move is a disk like (made out of anodised aluminium) and comes with a clip so you can attach it to your trousers, tie, bra or wherever you feel comfortable. It has a tri-axis accelerometer, 12 White LEDs, 1 Orange LED, and 1 Blue LED to indicate movement time, charge states, progress and current status. To be honest it seems very similar to the Misfit Shine. It uses a replaceable CR2032 battery which lasts up to 6 months. It only costs £39.99 which definitely puts it in the affordable bracket.

The UP3 on the other hand seems to be a vast improvement on the UP24 (and Jawbone known for being a Bluetooth company really shouldn't have released the original UP without Bluetooth support). It has a tri-axis accelerometer and uses bio-impedance to measure heart rate, respiration, Galvanic Skin Response (GSR). It also measures skin and ambient temperature. There are three single color LEDs: Blue for sleep, orange for activity, and white for notifications. It's also water resistant down to 10m (which means that it's suitable for swimming) and the rechargeable battery lasts about a week. It's £149.99 which isn't cheap, but the electronic sensors that measure your conditions are definitely better than the usual LED/pulse-rate detectors that most other devices use and can potentially allow the UP3 to do more accurate and advanced monitoring.

Though Fitbit dominate the tracker market (and though they are also launching new devices), the Move is a cheap and cheerful device for the low end market, while the UP3 has some nice advanced features and should give them a run for their money.

02/11/2014

The Kilogram moves from Platinum/Iridium to a Plank

In October the Kilogram turned 125 and the current International Prototype Kilogram based on a 4cm rod of Platinum and 10 Iridium is going to be phased out in favour of a new Kilogram based on a fundament constant of nature.

The IPK is based at the International Bureau of Weights in Sevres, France with 6 copies spread across the world, but time is having an effect and the weights do not agree with each other and the disagreements are increasing (each time measurements are taken the IPK has to be handled).

The new Kilogram will be based on the Plank, which will be measured using a watt balance (in a vacuum, developed by the National Physics Laboratory in Teddington) and is worked out by measuring how much current is required to move the balance, this will also mean redefinition of the ampere (which will be based on the charge carried by a single proton), but if gravity is known at the measuring point, it all works out from there.

This won't happen overnight and assuming all goes well the new standard will come into force (sic) in 2018.