Arki isn't about just step counts, it's about stepping better
Quick, what's your walking posture like? Are you moseying around with your hands in your pockets, or are you head down towards your smartphone? Are you just doing it all wrong? That's what Arki aims to fix by using motion tracking for more than just counting steps. The Kickstarter campaign, which has been up for just over a week and is already closing in on their $100,000 goal, is geared around building a fitness tracker that uses data about how you move and the ideal walking posture to get you moving not just more, but moving more smartly.
Of course, as with all Kickstarter projects there's a bit of overwhelming optimism and some pie-in-the-sky ideas here, and the base level $99 pledge package is projected for delivery by April 2015. Like any good fitness tracker, Arki is part wearable and part app (with plans for both Android and iOS support). Arki's tracking is nice and all, but it's meant to also offer real-time feedback through vibration — if your wrist buzzes, it means your doing it wrong.
The most ambitious element of Arki, however, is the biometric authentication system they plan to offer. When most of us think biometrics, we tend to think fingerprints or retina scans, but Arki takes your "unique walking pattern" (how you swing your are, your stride, your gait, etc) and uses that as your "password". Using that data, Arki can confirm to your computer that you are you, or send a message to your home automation gear that you've arrived and make adjustments to your heating system.
Importantly for an accessory you should be wearing all day, Arki looks decent. It's design is minimalist and angular, with bands that you can swap our depending on your style (the default is rubber, but they've got options for leather and and 'moree' braided 'wish bracelet'). The display's a simple LED dot matrix (don't let the video fool you) hidden under the plastic top.
There's a long road ahead for Arki — their current working prototype is significantly bulkier than their ideal and advertised final design. And though it's connecting to your phone with Bluetooth 4.0 low energy, they're not currently planning on offering notification support. If you're keen on what Arki's aiming to do and okay with the limitations of the device, you can pledge as little as $99 for a reservation all your own.
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.