Most activity trackers look alike, fitting to your wrist and featuring a jet black paint job. That’s not the case with the BSX Insight however, which fits into a compression sleeve on your calf, in order to measure the usual facets of exercise, along with your lactate threshold.
The BSX Insight promises to be an “all-in-one wearable sensor,” that gives you information on everything from your speed, calories burned and distance travelled, but most importantly it claims to look “inside” your muscles to see how you’re performing during the exercise.
It does this, by shining LED light through your calf muscle. This light is then detected afterwards, having been changed and warped by the internal composition of your muscle. That way, the BSX Insight is able to take note of how tired the muscle is and how much lactic acid has built up in your bloodstream. The idea being, that if the amount of acid is low, it will prompt you to speed up. If it’s too high, it will give you a nudge to slow down or take a break to allow your body to recover.
BSX wants to help you break through the lactate threshold and train harder than your muscles can handle and then stop before you do yourself some damage. That’s the challenge of anyone doing any exercise, but it can be hard to judge when that is. That’s what the Insight can help with.
Internally, the Insight is controlled by an ARM microcontroller, weights 50 grams and is bluetooth 4.0 compatible. Through that wireless connectivity, it can hook up to your smartphone or smartwatch to give you real time exercise data and advice, or be downloaded wholesale later on your computer to give you a proper break down.
As it stands, the BSX Insight can be pre-ordered for $199 (£115) for the Runner’s edition, or for $259 (£151) for the multi-sport edition, which when released will also support swimming and other activities. Each device is expected to ship out late 2014.
The biggest problem with the BSX Insight is that it’s marketed as an “all-in-one” solution, when in-fact, it needs to be hooked up to a smartphone or smartwatch in order to give you any input while training, which is when the whole lactate threshold warnings come in to play. Most fitness gadgets on the wrist can give you a heads up without needing another product altogether. It seems a shame that the Insight couldn’t just deliver a vibration to your leg to let you know what’s going on, or some kind of LED flash.
As interested as I would be to try the Insight, it seems like it’ll end up being very expensive if you factor in buying a smartwatch along with it. While you don’t need to do that, clearly it’s designed with that sort of integration in mind. Even if you just use your mobile phone to do the same thing, that means having to take both gadgets with you on a run. It seems like a missed opportunity not to have the Insight handle communication and information output itself. Perhaps through a bundled LED bracelet or similar.