Cloudtag is a UK startup with a background in research and science that believes the wearable you wear around your wrist (or on your chest) is just one piece of the puzzle in the quest to lose weight. It's not targeting athletic, sporty people with the Onitor Track, but 30 - 40 years olds who are starting to think more about staying in shape.
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With this group of people in mind, Cloudtag has built a personalised weight loss program that you can access through a free iOS or Android app. The accompanying wearable then feeds in the fitness data. It'll also provides nutrition advice and exercise programs during your 12 week plan.
"It's important to think that the weight loss plan is the core of what we're doing," Peter Griffiths, chief creative officer at Cloudtag told us. "We have a wearable because it makes it more accurate. But it wasn't about creating a wearable and then working out how we could make it useful."
Accessing these plans require an in-app purchase costing $3.60 a month, which Griffiths points out costs less than a grande latte. You'll need to enter some pretty standard information including age, weight, height and gender. Then it's time to set your weight loss goals, choosing how much you'd like to lose and what timeframe you want to achieve that in. The plans that are created will be different for each individual.
If you miss a day in the plan it will adjust. If you keep missing it, it'll suggest spending a little bit longer on the plan. The only thing you need to do manually each week is add in your weight. Plans are created in blocks of 12 weeks, but you can double them up and stretch them out as long as you want. The key is that while everything you do is catalogued, it surfaces the information that is relevant to you on that day.
The other piece of the puzzle is the Onitor Track fitness tracker. It's a surprisingly sleek piece of hardware made from stainless steel with a ceramic finish and looks a bit like an elongated Misfit Shine. There's a set of white LED lights to indicate daily progress and it's also sweat, rain and splash proof, just don't go swimming with it. The idea is that you'll wear it alongside a watch or a piece of jewellery, not replace them with it.
There's the standard 3-axis accelerometer motion sensor on board to record steps, sleep, active minutes and count calories. The key difference from other trackers is the algorithms used to crunch that data. The algorithm based on energy expenditure for instance, is built on top of work done by Cloudtag's medical partner Imec.
It also features an ECG standard heart rate monitor as opposed to an optical based PPG sensor you'll find on a Fitbit. Cloudtag has a clear reason why it's opted for a method of heart rate tracking that is favoured by the medical industry. "We deliberately went with ECG instead of PPG (LED) because it wasn't accurate enough for what we wanted to do," Griffiths said.
To take advantage of the more accurate heart rate tracking, the small sensor module can be removed from its strap and dropped into a small clip that includes two hypoallergenic electrodes. This can then be attached to a sports bra or chest strap. Simple but clever.
During exercise programs, Cloudtag's app provides videos for you to follow. With the clip worn around your chest, it'll pick up the ECG heart rate and give audio feedback to the user to tell you what heart rate zones you are in. So if you plan set a target heart rate for the day, you'll definitely know if you hit that target.
There's a nice touch on the battery front with the clip-on heart rate monitor too. It also doubles as a charging case for the module and when you're working out, it'll charge up the module at the same time so you're always fully topped up after completing an exercise program.
Aside from fitness tracking, Cloudtag wants to do things a little differently on the food tracking front. The team have created an approach that's based around hand sizes, finger sizes and fists to think more simply about food, nutrition and portion sizes. Your program gets populated with nutrition advice as you progress through the plan.
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As a package, there's a lot to like about Cloudtag's approach to weight loss. The Onitor Track fitness tracker is a sleek-looking piece of kit and I love the idea that it doubles as a ECG heart rate monitor. While you've got to pay monthly for the plans, it's not going to break the bank if you compare it to paying out for a gym membership every month. The app looks easy to follow and if the plans are adaptive as promised, it has the potential to keep users locked in and sticking to the daily routine.
At the moment there's no details on pricing for the hardware or when it's going to ship, but here's hoping Cloudtag can keeps things affordable. This tracker and software combo shows real potential.