Epson announce heart-monitoring fitness wristbands

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Epson has announced that it is getting into health gadgets, with the launch of “Pulsense” and “Runsense” wristbands.

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Who knew that Epson doesn’t just make printers? Pulsense comes in two models: the PS-100 is similar to the Fitbit Flex, and will silently log data with only an LED light for display. The PS-500 meanwhile offers more detailed feedback on a screen – showing you your step-count, calories burnt or pulse in real time.

Yes – that’s right, pulse. The new bands have a built in optical heart rate sensor. This is similar technology to the Galaxy S5 but is the first time we’ve seen it on a wearable – which makes more sense as it means that simply by being on your wrist it can monitor you 24 hours a day. The much-rumoured iWatch is thought to be packing a similar sensor, so it is interesting to see Epson beat Apple to the punch here.

Similarly interestingly, though other fitness trackers have built in alarms, the Pulsense devices both have the ability to set alarms based on your sleep cycle – so you can be woken up at the optimal time.

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Meanwhile Epson has also announced three “Runsense” trackers aimed at more hardcore athletes. These watches will track your position using GPS (and, the company claims, will use a clever algorithm to account for when there isn’t GPS signal). Plus it can monitor pace, laps, and even figure out your stride length. Like the Pulsense, it can also monitor your heart rate. Crucially, the company claims to have a longer battery life than competitors – reckoning you can get 30 hours of GPS tracking from the devices before needing to recharge.

As you might expect, both new types of products will be trackable using free smartphone apps, which will let you slice up the data however you like it. We’ve asked Epson if the the new devices will work with the forthcoming iOS8 Health app and Android Google Fit – and will update this post when we hear more.

The Pulsense PS-100 will come in turquoise and black, and cost £129.99, and the PS-500 will only be available in black at £169.99. The Runsense SF-310, SF-510 and SF-710 will start from £149.99. Both will be available from this month – so expect to see them in shops soon.

James O’Malley