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Saturday, 19 April 2008

Say hello to the iProd

They???ll have to call it the iProd.

Apple has filed a
patent application on a hand-held, touch screen gadget that will provoke you to take some exercise - or some other activity you're interested in.

It looks a lot like an iPhone or iPod Touch in the diagrams. The user would first answer questions about their nutrition and health history, which allows it to work out a personalised fitness programme.

Using heart-rate and motion sensors - either wireless and worn on the chest and ankles or built into the gadget - the device checks that you are sticking to the regime. If you don't, it offers on-screen comments designed to get you back on the wagon.

But it doesn't end with exercise. Apple imagines this approach working for other life experiences for the likes of expectant mothers, students, pensioners, new parents, soccer fans, gourmets and tourists.

Apple's patent says it wants the device to "coordinate multiple corridors of experiences in a person's life". It could be an interesting move. Goofing around with
Dr Kawashima's Brain Training on the Nintendo DS - in which you get to answer quick-fire questions in a bid to boost mental agility - is already great fun. The idea of having a gadget suggest and help you meet real world achievements is appealing.

Of course, virtual coaches to help us humans along have been
toyed with before. But with Apple's appetite for trying to break open pre-existing markets, that probably won't deter them.

Paul Marks, Technology Correspondent

Posted by: aroeltsm, Updated at: 12:39 am

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