A while back, I found a really interesting campaign on Indiegogo. It was a shiny (literary) new device, a life logger that would measure different activities such as running, swimming, cycling etc.
The name of the device was Misfit Shine and I was hooked. I’m really interested in life logging and the internet of things so I decided to take the risk and join a development process such as a hardware device presented on Indiegogo (or Kickstarter for that matter) can be.
Fast forward seven months!
I now have my new shiny device in (or rather on) my hand. As a jewelry piece it is sober, stylish and cool. Aluminum anodized to a slight shade of grey is a manly piece of equipment/jeweler. The Misfit shine also tells the time in a secret kind of way wich makes it double as a futuristic yet sleek watch.
This is my first impressions of the Shine as a life logger and I really think that you have to look at it from the right perspective. This is not a heart rate monitor. This is not a device that tells you how hard you have been working out.
The life logging consists of two parts. The hardware portion of the life logger consists of a device roughly the size of a Swedish krona. It feels like it weighs as much too (or as little which is a better description of it). I wear it on my left wrist and it is not noticeable at all. The software portion is an app that sadly is available on the ios platform only (this will change shortly though).
As you can see on the picture, it isn't really that big. In fact, it is small enough to wear in your jock strap if you are in to martial arts. Thats a feat none of the other lifeloggers can do.
The shine itself is super simple to use. Just wear it and it logs your activity. Double tap it to display your progress towards your goal. Triple tap it tag an special activity (which is configured in the app). Wear the Shine when you sleep and it will record your sleep as well. Hold the shine towards your phone to sync the data to the app. It can’t be more easy than that.
Then you have the app which is as simple as the Shine – in both a good and a bad way. First you need to set it up. You do that by entering gender, date of birth, weight and height. You also choose your activity goal (this can be fine tuned later) – but at first you get three choices such as “Not that active”, “Active” and “Really active”. Here Misfit has room for improvement.
After some activity, you can sync the Shine with your phone. The data is displayed in four segments:
As steps, kilometers and calories spent
As a graph and as badges
The first two are easily understood, but the last two isn’t as good. The diagram is interesting, but doesn´t really tell more than your activity level over time. It also shows an icon where you met your activity goal for that day, but nothing more. It doesn’t utilize horizontal layout so you can’t zoom in or get more information.
The activity badges are tedious. You get badges for basically everything. The app tells you that you were “kinda active” if you walk for 10 minutes? It didn’t really detect my strength training (although Misfit Shine clearly states that it will not detect weight training as of now) but it gave me two badges for being “pretty active” so it sure detected something. I got the badge “very active” for jogging for 32 minutes. The sleep recognition seems to be pretty solid to, I slept for about 6 hrs and the Shine claims I slept for 5 hrs 54 min.
I have used Runkeeper and Moves to compare data with the Shine, and it differs about 60 steps for a 4k run. That is impressive.
The good things about the Shine and the app:
- Great looks
- Versatile and rugged data logger
- Easy to use
- Easy to sync
- No need for daily/weekly charging of the data logger
- Shows the time as well
The things that I think needs to be changed to version 2.0:
It all comes down to the app. And the competition of other life loggers.
First of, the sleep detection should be improved, so that it shows how I slept, any restless sleep, any awake periods during the night etc. Fitbit does this much better than the Shine. As you can see, that night was… Pretty awake….
I don’t like the badges. I don’t really understand them… I got 14 badges here. Two where because of sleep so that isn’t so strange. Then I got five “kinda active”, three “pretty active” and one “very active”. No indications showing my type of activity (ie walking, running, working out).
When it comes to setting your activity level, I think that Misfit took the wrong approach. It would be much cooler if you put the device on you, and used it for three days. After that time, the Shine should learn my habits and suggest an activity goal based on my 3 day history and what my life goals are.
The Shine app is stuck on am/pm time telling, wich is odd. Another oddity is the fact that you can't post any of your acheivements to facebook, twitter, tumblr etc.
Final verdict of the Misfit Shine
Despite this, the Shine delivers on its marketing hype. Misfit Shine is an activity based life logger where you can set your goal for how active you want to be – and easily see how active you have been at any given time. It doesn’t claim to be able to show you how hard you exercised, how many miles/kilometers you ran och how many sparring sessions you had.
I think/hope that the app will be updated with new features and that the sleep patterns will be detectable. Remember that this is version 1.0.