My wife got a new Nike Fuelband for Christmas and after a bit of a struggle getting it set up, is wearing it daily to track her activity. Inspired by this, and by seeing other recipients of similar gadgets on app.net, I decided to look into getting something I could try. I ended up selecting the Fitbit One. This is my initial reaction to both devices, and the concept of gamified health tracking.
A relatively new word, but far from a new concept, gamification seems to be everywhere these days. Tracking your daily activity is one of those things that after a day or so would simply become a task. Adding an abstract notion of score (such as Nike's Fuel values) and daily goals to reach or beat, turns this routine activity into something of a game. Add a social aspect to share your success with your friends online, or challenge each other to reach the highest score, and you have the motivation that many find lacking in just turning up to the gym a few times a week.
Health tracking applications are also popular right now. Bravo's recent “reality” show about Silicon Valley startups featured two applications in this space (one an app for predicting life expectancy and adjusting it based on your lifestyle, the other a motivation app pairing you with a mentor to keep you on track). In many ways, gadgets like the Fuelband and the Fitbit are doing similar things via their activity scoring and social sharing (motivation).