Nike announces Nike+ Fuelband to measure everything

Nike has announced a new wrist-worn tracking device called the Nike+ Fuelband (@nikefuel) under the slogan “Life is a sport. Make it count”.

The Fuelband uses oxygen kinetics to track and differentiate between different types of physical activity such as break dancing. Users’ activity level is presented as a “fuel” score. Each day individuals can set a target for total activity and as the day progresses the band gives them feedback on whether or not they are on track to meet that target.

The Fuelband uses an embedded 3D accelerometer to distinguish between different activities as well as two arrays of LEDs to provide the user real-time information. The first array is a horizontal band that lights up as the day progresses from “red” to “green” as the daily activity goal is approach and achieved.

The wristband pairs wireless via Bluetooth with iOS devices (Android app is in the pipeline) and can also be synced with a PC using a USB connection.


The band itself seems to be very stylish and could potentially catch on, but it could be potentially cost prohibitive at $149. Competition includes the Jawbone UP and Strive, both of which are priced at $99.

Nike Fuelband is already sold out on the company’s website, but it will not ship until February 22. Check out the promotional videos below from Nike’s YouTube channel.

(Thanks to @seandotmurphy for the tip)



Brian Edwards

Senior mHealth Analyst

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18 Responses to Nike announces Nike+ Fuelband to measure everything

  1. Ash January 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    What are “oxygen kinetics” and how are they measured? Does this work something like an O2 saturation monitor, or is it really just measuring arm motion? (It must be more complicated than the latter, as it’s hard to imagine how an accelerometer on the wrists could measure activity during bicycling).

  2. Tom Lewis January 24, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Hi Ash,
    ‘Oxygen kinetics’ really is just a collection of accelerometers which measure general body movement. In an ironic statement, you managed to pick one of the few sports (cycling) which Nike acknowledge the fuelband can’t detect. Also despite being water resistant it is not waterproof therefore can’t be used whilst swimming. Does seem a good way to track most daily movement.

    • Ash January 25, 2012 at 6:40 am #

      I dug a bit deeper and found out why they feel they can re-label wrist acceleration as “oxygen kinetics.” Apparently they put FuelBands on a (small) group of people in an exercise physiology lab at Arizona State. They monitored their oxygen consumption while participants performed a variety of typical “sporting” activities (in fact I think these were simulations of sporting activities), and from that data they developed a database correlating motion profiles with average oxygen demand.

      So when the band determines the motion profile of your wrist, in principle it can guess what sort of activity you’re doing and therefore how much oxygen you are using while doing it. Sensibly, Nike calls this measurement “NikeFuel” and doesn’t claim it represents real energy/calories.

      Since the goal is to use NikeFuel as a way of keeping score in a game that Nike wants you to play, I think it’s great. It’s not physically meaningful, but it probably is quite motivating if you don’t ask too many questions. If you DO ask questions, though, simple pedometers are still the best wearable way to measure activity.

      • Brian Edwards January 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

        I totally agree that pedometers are still the best. I also think Nike is really trying to find the keys to unlocking the motivation in individuals to be vigilant in the workout regimen. I do not see a so-called “fuel score” to be the type of incentive that will accomplish this, but we have yet to see what sort of competitive or social features Nike incorporates. They sure do know how to market their products, so I wouldn’t bet against them.

  3. Francisco January 25, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    If the band is were on the bottom leg, will be able to measure the biking activity?

    • Felasfa Wodajo, MD January 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

      good question – would be great if anybody who has tried out an analogous device (e.g. Jawbone Up) on an ankle instead of wrist would let us know

    • Ash January 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      In principle, Francisco, yes. But the Nike database was built on correlations between wrist motion and oxygen demand, so I’m guessing that once you put it anywhere other than your wrist, you’re outside of what the computer knows about. The band might think you were rowing (badly) or something.

  4. Kiril January 30, 2012 at 5:51 am #

    I guess nike is trying to push the gamification concept to the masses by offering this stylish, but not really accurate calorie consumption calculator. If someone else tried to launch a product like this, it would pass completely unnoticed, but with their marketing machinery I can see this sticking with the masses.

    Do you really think they pre-sold everything? In my opinion that’s just a marketing trick to boost demand, once the product is available.

    Bottom line, I would rather stick to my heart rate monitor and a smartphone app for a (more) accurate calorie calculation than buy this band.

    • Brian Edwards January 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      I think you are probably right about the sellout being a marketing trick. Out of curiosity, what heart rate monitor are you currently using?

      • Kiril January 31, 2012 at 3:19 am #

        I have two actually, Polar Bluetooth and CardioSport ANT+. I like the ANT+ better because it connects easier and faster and has much longer battery life. I use it with the sportypal app. It’s quite a good combination.

        • Ash February 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

          Can you write more about this setup, i.e. what the monitor looks like, how you wear it, and what kind of information you get from the app? Also, perhaps, how using the system helps you. Very curious!

  5. Aidan McIntosh February 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Excellent discussions. I scoured the website / features but still haven’t found anything that monitors heart rate. Surely it can’t be too hard to build a sensor with that contact on the wrist. Does anyone know why they haven’t added this feature?

    • Kiril February 3, 2012 at 5:52 am #

      I’ve seen heart rate monitors that are worn like a glove, and as I remember there were some (wrist) watches that could measure heart rate, too. So, the problem is not with the technology. Nike wants to “measure” (actually calculate) calorie expenditure by “oxygen kinetics”. However, I don’t know why they choose this method. One assumption is that the band’s battery will last longer…

  6. Kiril February 3, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    Here is a link so you can see what they look like –
    It is worn around the body, and it’s placed in the middle of the chest. I have also a ANT+ enabled smartphone (ANT+ is a wireless protocol for data transmission similar to Bluetooth, but consumes less energy). I have installed SportyPal PRO from Android market ( Whenever I want to go for a workout I take the HR monitor, start the app (the connection with the monitor is fast and easy) and I start. I get real time voice notifications from the app, so I can workout in the right heart rate zone and not over train. You can even create a goal for the workout or a long term plan to follow. After I finish I upload the workout on their website where I can analyze my map, distance crossed, time spent, speed/pace, calories burned, heart rate etc. It works perfectly for me. The app has social features, too. For example you can comment on others’ people workouts, or share your workouts on facebook or twitter.
    It’s highly recommended if you own a smartphone. Even for tracking walks around the block, because that’s physical activity, too :)

  7. Ivan January 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    I fully understand the marketing needs of the product.

    the campaign is massive, loads of videos, articles.. yes, it’s cool like apple campaigns..

    can you reveal WHAT DOES IT ACTUALLY MEASURE and in what metric?


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