iPhones and PCs take fitness to heart

Mon Mar 2, 2009 7:13am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - For some of us, the iPhone will always be a slightly scary emblem of the brave new world: an impossibly sleek device that allows you to make a call, hear a song, learn a language and find your way home.

Now you - and your personal trainer - can also use it to listen to your heart, as new technology turns the iPhone into a heart monitor and fitness tracking system.

"We wanted to make the fitness tracking experience cool, fun, simple and custom," said Michael C. Williams, founder and CEO of iTMP Technology, Inc., which developed the monitoring module.

"We did it by leveraging the iPhone's technology."

One way of monitoring the intensity of physical activity is heart rate. For moderate-intensity activity, target heart rate should be 50 to 70 percent of a person's maximum heart rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

SM Heart Link, a so-called "wireless bridge," collects data from sensors -- such as heart rate chest straps and cycling sensors on bikes --and sends it to the iPhone for display and tracking.

"There are dozens of fitness apps on the iPhone but none of them, until now, employ heart rate monitors or other sensors." Williams said from his company's headquarters in Santa Barbara, California.

He added that the iPhone can now double as a heart rate monitor and bike computer, tracking and storing workouts and even sending the data to medical assessment websites.   Continued...

<p>A man holds his new Apple iPhone 3G at Telcel Center in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata August 22, 2008. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw</p>