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HFB 2012: Big year for new technology, apps

Technology for iPads was heavily represented on the Health & Fitness Business Expo Show floor this year. SNEWS brings you the latest and greatest of what we saw in Las Vegas last month.

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Nearly gone are the days when there are only subtle differences between the treadmills and ellipticals offered by fitness companies.

Nowadays it’s about the technology. You can run a mile or 10 on any treadmill, or get in an hour or two on any elliptical, but why just stand there and look in a mirror or out a window when you could virtually travel all over the world?

At HFB this year, several companies brought to the show proprietary technology that takes users into some the world’s most beautiful landscapes while others are developing apps to make workouts more personalized.

A new Vision

Vision has completely revamped its line, from a new logo to a new look for every machine in its inventory. But the news is not about the look. It’s about where that good-looking, sleek equipment is going to take you thanks to Vision Fitness’ new Passport Media Software. The software, which comes on the Passsport Player, allows users to escape the dull monotony of their living rooms and dive right into the American Southwest or Northern Italy right through their own televisions.

The Passport is an add on to any of the new equipment which also features the company’s new consoles. The Touch Console has iPod, iPhone certification, enabling users to control those devices from their equipment’s touch screen. This console also includes a workout calendar that tracks multiple users automatically, never confusing any members of the same club or family who use the same machine. The Elegant Console comes with preprogrammed workouts, including the company’s popular Sprint 8 program. The Classic Console was designed with ease of use in mind, having only the basics displayed so users can get right to the point.

The Elegant and Touch Consoles can also come with the Virtual Active technology, which has all the great destinations stored on the Passport Media Player, but right there on your console. You can travel anywhere in the world while staying put in one place. Eliminates the need for passport fees and airline tickets.

New concepts for iStuff

If you were lucky enough to attend ISPO 2012, then you were able to see BH’s launch of its i.Concept technology which lets users of BH and Bladez equipment integrate their iPad and iPhones to be used as monitors.

The way the technology works is users download the application and then it can be used in two ways. The first of which is their iStuff can be used the equipment’s console where exercise programs are installed and can be updated whenever a new version is out. Plus, users can pick from classic programs like resistance or valley training, or they can participate (virtually of course) in popular events like the New York City Marathon. Exercisers can also play games against themselves like racing racing.

If users put the software in background mode, they can use their iStuff while it’s still running the program and collecting data.

Last HFB, Bodyguard brought its new Imagine feature to the forefront and now users can download the app from the Apple App Store and be able to hook up their iPads to their consoles and do everything from watch movies, play games and listen to their music through their equipment’s speakers, all while still being able to track their workout information.

Plus, users can create an unlimited number of user IDs for every one of the machine’s users. The user IDs allow exercisers to customize workout settings and analyze past performances.

But iPad apps aren’t just for cardio equipment. Hoist unrolled its new iPad app for each of its home gyms. The apps make it possible for each gym to show customized instructional videos tracks your body metrics.

Also Powertec has a new prototype that includes an Android app, and the company is in the process of developing an iPad app. The application helps users to measure the power of the rep, not just the weight, and record their results and improvement over time. Plus, it also includes workout videos.

–Ana Trujillo