The Basis Watch: If The Nike FuelBand Married A Nurse

I know what you're thinking. Not another wearable health tracker, right? Except this one is a bit different and might actually be worth a damn.

In an already crowded market, you might be wondering how or why the Basis watch is any different than every other wearable health monitor that's currently available. You'd be absolutely right in questioning its validity but the Basis is unique for a number of reasons. And at $US199, it's priced very competitively for what it claims to actually do and will begin shipping early next month.

Unlike the FuelBand or UP — both of which I wear everyday without fail — it packs more than just an accelerometer. In fact, the Basis manages to cram in four different types of sensors that measure your skin and ambient temperature, your varying levels of perspiration, activity level, sleep quality and blood flow to measure your heart rate. All of that data is then crunched by a series of algorithms and then displayed in real-time on either the watch itself or on Basis' free web portal. What you can see on the watch by tapping the four different corners is the date/time, steps taken, calories burned, heart rate and a progress bar that's linked to a specific activity or habit you're looking to achieve.

The watch itself is interchangeable, so you can swap between a white or black band. Other colours are more than likely in the works, too. Battery life is said to be around four days, which seems like a lot considering the sensors are going full throttle 24/7. To upload your data, the watch needs to be connected to your computer. Mobile apps aren't yet ready but the Basis does come with Bluetooth, so wireless syncing is already baked in and likely just needs a firmware update to unlock.

On the desktop side, you're given a dashboard that dives into the data that's being collected by the bevy of sensors on your wrist into three different categories: My Habits, Insights and Data.

My Habits displays and tracks whether or not you're hitting your goals and changes dynamically based on your actual day-to-day activity. There are 10 "habits" aka goals that will launch with the Basis that track how long you're actually wearing the watch or steps taken each day. For example, Basis might start you off a goal of taking 5000 steps at least two times in a given a week. If you exceed that goal, it automatically bumps that up or bumps it down if you get sick or are travelling and not walking around that much.

As you hit your goals and accumulate points, other habits are unlocked. And as Jef Holove the CEO told me, Basis wants to help you "find the ones that work". A few examples below.

Insights offers up a week by week breakdown of habits that you've hit, the total number of steps or calories burned and the quality of and time slept. So if you were super active for a given period of time, this is where you can see the steps taken or calories burned. Or you can see a particular night's sleep and see what your resting heart rate was and the number of times you woke up.

Under the Data tab, you can get pretty granular down to the hour with the various things being measured (calories, heart rate, steps, perspiration, skin temperature) to see if there are any particular patterns.

So yeah, it seems pretty lofty and the slew of sensors alone make it stand apart from the rest of the pack. It does, however, have a direct competitor in the BodyMedia armband but I'll reserve judgement until I've actually tried it out and compared it to all the others.

Oh, here's a demo from Jef.

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