Last week, I gave an overview of BodyMedia’s armband technology. The folks at BodyMedia were kind enough to send me a LINK armband to try, and I wanted to share my experience with the product. First impressions I must admit, I was a bit surprised by the bulk of the LINK armband unit when it arrived to the office. The actual unit, which contains the two metal sensors, snaps into a metal housing on the armband. I thought for sure the unit would show through my clothing, but that wasn’t the case. It was actually quite sleek and discreet. It was comfortable as well. After a few hours, I eventually forgot I was wearing it. The instructions advise users to wear the armband a little loose, allowing two fingers to easily slip between the armband and the users arm. There were times when I was concerned the armband would slip down my arm, but it never did. The armband in action Believing myself to be an active person, I was excited to see what kind of data I would produce. I wasn’t so much interested in the weight management piece as I was to see how many calories I burned in a given workout and which workouts were the most strenuous. The played a soccer game the first night I wore the armband, and according to the LINK armband I burned 650 calories. Not bad for a one hour game. My Activity Manager dashboard showed a line graph that plotted how many calories I burned in a given minute. I saw a clear spike at the start of the game along with other peaks and valleys throughout the duration. I managed to hit 11.5 calories per minute at my peak and dropped down to 5.7 during half time. I continued to wear the armband throughout the week and during my typical workouts. A 45-minute high-intensity interval training session at the gym burned 330 calories with a maximum of 9.4 calories per minute. A half-hour run burned 400 calories with a steady burn of about 13 calories per minute. Just goes to show that nothing burns the calories like a good run. What I found particularly interesting, and a little upsetting, was how inactive I was throughout the typical work day. From 8 am to noon I averaged about three minutes of physical activity. My trips to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and bathroom breaks don’t add up to much. My activity levels spiked a bit on my lunch break when I would run errands, but my afternoons showed another lull in activity. I made up for my inactivity at home. Doing chores like raking leaves and washing dishes registered as moderate activity and helped me reach my goal for the day. The armband at rest I also wore my armband to bed to see how good it was at recording the time I slept each night. I could clearly see when I laid down for the night and when I eventually fell asleep. I found it interesting to see the couple of times throughout the night when I would wake. Some I would remember, such as the 3am trip to the bathroom, but others I did not. The Activity Manager dashboard compares sleep time to the total time I spent lying down to create a sleep efficiency percentage. I averaged around 90%. Final impressions In all, I was impressed with the device. Like I said, I wasn’t so much interested in the weight management function of the device, so I didn’t get a chance to take advantage of BodyMedia’s food log function. I imagine it is a nice feature for those who are watching their calorie intake. On the one hand, I was happy to see that my activity level off the clock was close to where I thought it would be. On the other, it was eye-opening to see how inactive I am during work hours. As a result, I have set a reminder on my computer to get up and take a lap around the building every hour. The one thing I would have really liked to see is my data compared to other users. Being a competitive person, it would have been motivating to see how active other people in my age range are throughout the day. Perhaps a third party developer will create such an application. Although I personally did not use the LINK armband as a weight management tool, I can see how it would be a useful tool for those who do. It is certainly the most accurate and advanced activity monitor I have used.