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Garmin Forerunner Watches Bring Predictive Capability to Wearable Tech
Wearable Tech World Feature Article
September 16, 2013
Garmin Forerunner Watches Bring Predictive Capability to Wearable Tech
By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer

When it comes to wearable tech, the devices involved in the field have demonstrated time and again the sheer versatility and range of functions that can be brought to play in the wider field. But few devices have ever shown the ability to predict the future, and the new Garmin (News - Alert) Forerunner watch is looking to do just that...with exercise.

The Garmin Forerunner line, for now comprised of the Forerunner 220 and the Forerunner 620, packs in a one-inch color display that can sync data to a PC or a phone via Bluetooth. Both devices are at last report water resistant to 50 meters, and run on rechargeable batteries, but that's where the similarities largely end. The Forerunner 620 will step things up substantially with a touchscreen control (the Forerunner 220 uses buttons) but will not only connect via Wi-Fi, but also, in a fashion, connecting to the very future itself.

The Forerunner 620 can not only gauge a user's oxygen volume, it can take that information—along with, reportedly, information about vertical oscillation, or the amount of bounce in running motion—and extrapolate outward to provide estimates of time to complete different lengths of run. It uses that oxygen volume to compute likely endurance. When the Forerunner 620 is coupled with the HRM-Run, an optional companion device, the Forerunner 620's estimates can get even better thanks to the HRM-Run's accelerometer that can in turn measure gait size.

The combined system of the Forerunner 620 and the HRM-Run can even go so far as to track heart rate history and suggest days off to match. The Forerunner 220 starts things off at $249.99, while going to the Forerunner 620 demands $399.99 from interested runners. Adding either the HRM-Run to the 620 or a more standard heart rate monitor to the 220 will reportedly cost an additional $50 regardless of device.

This will likely prove to be a combination that's tough to resist for serious runners, especially those who want to track progress in most every detail. With a variety of data points available, it's not surprising that the Forerunner 620 can consider what's likely to happen, though it is at least somewhat surprising that all of that consideration and data gathering can be done in a device like a wristwatch. It shows rather effectively just how far the field of wearable technology is actually going, and provides some exciting possibilities in terms of future development.

This is the future of wearable technology: information gathering and prediction making devices that can be worn like a common wristwatch. Only time will tell just what future such devices can do, but based on just two devices from Garmin, at this point, nothing is really off the table.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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