The annual International Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Las Vegas, is the world's largest gathering of consumer-tech companies and technophiles of all types. But hidden in the halls of technology are outdoors and fitness brands and dozens of gadgets that cater to the adventurous fringe. Here's a look at a few "products of the future" via the lens of CES.
Eye Control -- It weighs just 10 grams and connects to almost any pair of sports glasses. The strangely-named Sportiiiis product offers the unique feature of multi-color L.E.D. lights that serve as "visual feedback" cues for exercisers monitoring heart rate, cadence, power, speed or pace. The device communicates wirelessly with watches and other fitness products and lights up in customizable patterns to allow athletes to monitor speed and stats without ever taking their eyes off the road. www.4iiii.com, $199
Music + GPS Watch -- Music, fitness tools and GPS features make the MOTOACTV from Motorola a first of its kind. The gadget can be worn as a watch or on an armband. It stores hundreds of songs and has mapping and fitness features for monitoring a workout. What's more, the device uses an algorithm that "learns what songs motivate you" for building custom music playlists engineered to push your workout up a notch. Starts at $249; www.motoactv.com
E-Book Charger -- You can head outside or into the wilderness and unplug completely with the SolarKindle, an e-reader cover with an embedded solar array. The company, SolarFocus Technology, touts three months of unplugged Kindle reading time via its sun-charged case, which feeds solar power to the e-reader's battery. $79.99, www.solarmio.com
GPS Fitness -- The Switch Series of fitness watches borrow from Magellan's knowledge in mapping technology to offer runners and cyclists built-in GPS. Track speed, distance, altitude and other fitness and geospatial stats via the watches' "high sensitivity" GPS receivers, which the company touts are accurate to a range as small as 10 feet. $249.99 and up; www.magellangps.com/switch
Bluetooth HR -- "Transform your smartphone into an all-in-one training partner." That's the claim from Wahoo Fitness, which unveils a Bluetooth-compatible heart rate monitor strap at CES. The company's Blue HR product communicates with an iPhone or other Bluetooth-ready phones to give users real-time heart rate readings on their small screen. The strap then pairs with fitness apps on a phone to literally dial in your aerobic side. $79.99, www.wahoofitness.com