Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Technology Review: Nike+iPod Sports Kit.

Athletic shoes and portable music are runners' best friends.

Hence, it makes sense that they join forces in the form of Nike and Apple's Nike+iPod Sports Kit. The Kit consists of two pieces, an accelerometer (sometimes called a "pebble") that is placed in the shoe to record times and distances, and a receiver that plugs into the iPod Nano and receives information from the accelerometer.

1. Cost. At sub-$30, the Kit packs a lot of bang for the buck. It can elevate an iPod Nano into a sophisticated workout tool. However, the special Nike+ shoes--with the bed carved out of the sole--must be purchased separately, and seem to be priced about $20 more than regular Nike running shoes. Some have reported modifying other brands to hold the accelerometer, but the Nike+ shoes are specially designed for this purpose and promise the necessary snug fit.

2. Conveniences. This device converts what many already have--an iPod Nano--into a multifaceted runner's tool. In addition to incorporating music into the workouts, the Nano now displays visual information about the workouts (e.g. miles run and time elapsed) and provides human voice feedback. For example, when a personal best is achieved, prerecorded congratulations play through the ear buds from such luminaries as Paula Radcliffe and Lance Armstrong. Information about workouts can be transferred from the Nano to one's computer as well as a website to track progress and compare to others'.

3. Critiques. My only critique is a slight variation in workout distances reported. For instance, one of my routes is a 4-mile lap. Since the distance should be the same for each run of this same 4-mile route, when the total reported for this route varies, it causes concern. However, because the variations are minor, and I'm not training for the Olympics, I'm not overly troubled by the discrepancies.