LifeBEAM Smart Hat Takes Fitness Tracking Head-On

Senior Writer
Sometimes, you don't want to be bothered to wear a wristband fitness tracker on your morning run - or at all. A company called LifeBEAM has a solution that promises to work just as well, while being more comfortable. The $100 LifeBEAM Hat is an extra layer of intelligence and insulation for your head that tracks heart rate, calories and cadence while you work out, and transmits the information to the device of your choosing.

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At a glance, the LifeBEAM Hat could be confused for a regular, yet pristine, baseball cap. Available in white or black, it's a simple, plain hat with a sensor hub built discreetly into the back. The hat's rear strap (pictured below) packs electro-optical sensors that continuously track heart rate, calories and cadence.

There's no need for a traditional chest strap heart rate monitor - the hat's sensors monitor that for you - but you will need some sort of compatible fitness device or app to view the data. The hat works with many Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ compatible devices, from the niche Suunto Ambit2 S to the all-in-one Garmin Vivosmart wristband, and fitness apps like iBiker and Samsung's S Health. The list of compatible devices seems a bit obscure right now, and there's no word on if the hat will be compatible with newer services like Google Fit.

For those who usually adorn a cap while exercising, LifeBEAM's smart hat could be an alternative to a traditional fitness tracking wristbands. At its $100 price point, it's slightly less expensive than popular trackers like the Jawbone Up24 ($150) and the new Fitbit Charge ($130) - but it's still a $100hat. We're interested to see how well its sensors work, especially the heart rate and calorie detectors, and how comfortable it is to wear.