It can take your pulse, check your body fat, time your jogs and tell you if you have bad breath. It even assesses stress levels and inspires you with a pep talk.
Meet your new personal trainer: your cellphone.
The prototype Wellness mobile phone from Japan’s NTT DoCoMo Inc. targets users with busy lives who want a hassle-free way of keeping track of their health, according to company spokesman Noriaki Tobita. The phone was unveiled this week at the CEATEC electronics show outside Tokyo.
DoCoMo, Japan’s biggest mobile phone carrier, has not set a release date or price for the Wellness phone, and has no immediate plans to sell it overseas.
Like Nike Inc.’s +Nike technology, the handset also keeps track of jogs, letting users set targets and keep track of time, distance and calories burned—while listening to music through headphones. Hold the phone with outstretched arms, and it turns into a mini body-fat calculator. A sensor at the top of the phone takes your pulse from your fingertip. The Wellness phone, developed by NTT DoCoMo and Mitsubishi Electric Corp., also asks questions to assess stress levels—and offers advice. NTT DoCoMo is still testing some of the phone’s other technology, including a function to keep track of meals and calculate calorific intake, as well as a networking capacity to let users share data, Tobita said.
A new virtual world for children
Cyber playgrounds for digitally-savvy kids look set to be the cool new space after BBC unveiled Adventure Rock, its children’s online virtual world. With this, BBC has joined family entertainment giant such as Disney’s Club Penguin, Nickelodeon’s Neopets, Stardol.com and others. Set in a colourful 3D virtual landscape, BBC’s Adventure Rock, due to launch towards the end of this year, will enable children to play games, learn dance routines and songs, or invent new ones, which could then be danced or sung live by a group in a BBC studio.
The new interactive service will be free, and without any of the paying “add-on” features found in adult virtual worlds such as Second Life, which pioneered the new online virtual universes where users can create cyber-clones or avatars of themselves. Disney’s snowy paradise world Club Penguin, which is inhabited by penguins that children can dress up and join in their games, is also free, though members can choose to pay a small monthly subscription to access premium content. Neither the Disney nor the BBC cyber worlds come with advertising. (AFP)