fit and fab
The art of fashionable, wearable technology has always been a tough nut to crack. How do you incorporate a piece of technology into jewellery you’d wear on a daily basis, without looking like a runaway prison inmate?
In recent years, jewellery companies have been coming up with designs that showcase not just their expertise in ‘invisible’ settings, but also weaving in the technological aspect of fitness trackers into a compact, inconspicuous device that shines as brightly as it bejewelled half.
Take Swarovski, which has dabbled in everything pretty, from table sculptures and ornaments to fashion jewellery and watches. So successful was the brand that it collaborated with the likes of Chanel and Christian Dior for haute-couture embroidery on gowns, which subsequently propelled it to birth Atelier Swarovski, a crystal-couture jewellery brand.
Swarovski collaborated with smart accessory company Misfit to release the Swarovski Activity Crystal, a piece of Swarovski crystal that tracks the wearer’s activity and sleeping patterns. The crystal can be mounted onto a necklace, sports band or Slake crystal-studded bracelet, easily taking the wearer from day to night.
The Swarovski Activity Crystal keeps track of daily movements and sleeping patterns, collecting data including the number of hours slept and quality of sleep (light or restful), steps taken, distance covered, and calories burnt. To view your progress, download the Misfit app and calibrate your Swarovski Activity Crystal. The crystal can store up to 30 days worth of information which can be transferred to your phone through Bluetooth.
The crystal is dotted with 12 lights (just like a watch.) A double tap shows your day’s progress, which can be adjusted via the Misfit app, followed by the time. A hundred points mean you’ve taken about a thousand steps. As a gauge, four dots means you’ve met ¼ of your goal, while six dots means you’re halfway there.
I used the Swarovski Activity Crystal for a month and found that its effectiveness swung between two extremities. The app allows you to select options such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, dancing, doing yoga, playing tennis, football and basketball, but it isn’t able to count the calories specifically.
I took the Swarovski Activity Crystal jogging, rock climbing, swimming (in a pool and out at sea), and to various fitness classes including a Barre class. It worked the best for jogging, and the crystal recorded that I was still burning calories after my jog ended. So far, so good. It wasn’t able to track the Barre class though, so I selected the closest fit — dancing, which was fitting, considering Barre is a mix of ballet, pilates and yoga.
When I went swimming, the crystal recorded my movements for 1.5 hours, but was unable to register the activity, calories burnt, or equivalent number of steps taken. I manually selected ‘swimming’, and while it failed to record any points, the activity was taken into account in my daily goal. While the crystal is water resistant to 50m, you can’t take it for free or scuba diving, for unexplained reasons. Snorkelling’s fine, though.
Rock climbing fared the worst. The crystal failed to register any form of activity, and when I keyed it in, the app did not award me with any points. The same goes for when I logged my scuba diving hours (four). I did not see any increase in calories, or points.
Apart from activity and sleep tracking, you may also tap it to play and pause music, or take photos on your smartphone, log food and calorie intake, and advance presentation slides. All of these functions worked rather well, with a little bit of lag when Shine failed to recognise my taps.
The big question: should you purchase one?
Yes, if your main forms of exercise are those featured in the app. It also has a social function, where you may add friends who have Swarovski Activity Crystal to the app’s your social workout circle and see how everyone fares. If you’re competitive, tweak the settings and be alerted whenever someone has scored more points than you. It also tracks your sleep patterns, and while you aren’t able to learn how to get better rest by using the app, it’s always useful to know the amount of quality rest you get in a day.
The social aspect also keeps things fresh, especially if your friends are fitness buffs. A huge plus would be that it logs your activities even as you head out for a night of partying, given the Slake bracelets that transform the crystal into a stunning piece of jewellery.
But if you’re a hardcore fitness fanatic, then the Swarovski Activity Tracking Crystal probably isn’t for you, as you’ll need something more sensitive and attuned to your workout needs.