Nike Fuelband Review – Gadget Review
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Pedometers have long existed. But let’s be honest, they’re for middle aged, over weight women. There is nothing cool, rad or hip about them. Those of the younger, more stylish generation are attracted to sleeker looking products that complement their lifestyle, not ones that contradict it. Nike’s Plus service emerged a few years ago, and while it provides much needed information for runners, it was, and is, hardly an everyday accessory to help you keep track of your daily activities. Leveraging the popularity of rubber wrist bands, such as Livestrong Lance Armstrong bands, is Nike’s Fuelband bracelet, which is arguably the best fitness tracker today.
Embedded into the bracelect’s face, in addition to a single rubber coated button, are 20 LED lights which indicate how close you are to achieving your daily Fuel goal. There are also 100 white LEDs that spell out your total steps taken, calories burned and your Fuel number for the day. By design, and logically I might add, the information resets everyday at 12am since the goals are designed around a single day. If you’d rather go with a watch, take a look at our Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS review instead.
To get the Fuelband up and running I simply had to plug it into my computer. Unlike many of today’s smartphone and similar products, the Fuelband doesn’t use a micro or mini USB port. Instead the clasp doubles a USB plug, though Nike includes a cord for those using a desktop or aren’t comfortable plugging the band directly into their computer’s USB port. Once plugged in, you’ll need to head to Nikeplus.com/setup where you’ll be prompted to download the accompanying software. Once installed you’ll be walked through a quick setup process where upon you’ll enter your age, height, weight as well as your desired daily Fuel goal. Don’t worry, you can later customize the Fuel number to whatever you’d like, but Nike offers three presets: 2000 (normal), 3000 (active day) and 5000 (high-energy day). If you’ve got a Nike account you can login immediately or sign up. After that, you’ll just need to just charge your Fuelband to full, which takes about 3-4 hours, and you’ll be off and exercising.
Related: Have a look at the Misfit Shine review
So what is Nike Fuel? Nike Fuel is whole integer number that represents your daily activity by calculating your calories burned along with your steps taken, while simultaneously factoring in your age, gender, weight and height. In short order, Nike Fuel is a calculation that allows everyone and anyone to compete regardless of their sex, age and any physical predispositions. All this data can be uploaded to Nike+ Connect or the accompanying smartphone app once you pair the Fuelband using the built-in Bluetooth.
The Fuelband by all accounts is a revolutionary device. At first blush it looks like another black rubber wrist bands. Don’t get me wrong, it is. But once those LED lights illuminate, it felt like all my childhood gadget aspirations had come together simultaneously. Phrased another way, the Fuelband’ design is so innocuous, so unassuming and so simple, that when it shows off its LEDs they’re awe inspiring.
Related: In case you don’t like any of the options above, read the Spree Fitness Monitor review
Using the Fuelband is dead simple. A small rubber button that is seamlessly embedded into the facade, illuminates the LED lights. Press it and it will show the last menu viewed: Fuel, Cals, Steps or Time. Each subsequent press cycles through the different menus by scrolling them from right to left in a fashion that could be best described as an electronic billboard – it’s quite slick. The color LEDs, which shows you how close you are to your daily goal – green is the goal as indicated by one LED, while red is your progress – only illuminates during the initial press of the button, not during the cycles. Hold down the button for a few seconds and it will activate the sync feature (as displayed), provided of course you’ve paired it with your smartphone’s Bluetooth connection and downloaded the accompanying app.
With the app installed (on your computer or smartphone) you’ll be able to modify your daily Fuel goal to whatever integer you like, see your progress, calories burned, step taken and distance walked. It also allows you to view your past days, rate your day using a variety of emoticon faces, view your friends activity and review past achievements. If need be you can also modify a few other options, such as the Fuelband’s display orientation for left or right hand wearing, but you’ll need to connect it your computer to change your height, weight or age – hardly a concern though, since those won’t change much.
Unfortunately, there is no way to view the Fuelband’s remaining battery life, unless of course you plug it into your computer’s USB port or you’re almost out of juice. That said, the small version comes with a 50mAh battery, while the medium ships with a 70mAh battery. I tested the medium Fuelband and have gone 7 days without recharging it despite Nike saying that it should last for up to 4 days. Suffice to say, my battery expectations have been managed.
During my testing, I used the Nike Fuelband in a variety of scenarios over the course of 7 days. I ran with it, lifted weights, practiced some Kung Fu and all but slept with the Fuelband on my wrist. Thanks to the accompanying iPhone app I am able to see roughly what time of the day I was active, how many calories I burned, steps taken and total distance traveled (miles or kilometers). You can also review your past days, weeks and years if need be. Achieve a goal and the wrist band will display the word GOAL and upon syncing it run a small video snippet of the Nike Fuel character in celebration. By all means this is great motivition to drive you forward in your daily routine. Unfortunately, this is where the buck stops and the proverbial dime drops.
The Nike Fuelband over counted my steps, no question about it. I first noticed this while driving. Some how I manage to accumulate 50 steps while sitting. Okay, I’m moving forward, so it stands to reason that the Fuelband’s accelerometers mistook this for walking. Fair enough. So I set about with some rudimentary testing. I walked 10 paces in a normal fashion and the Fuelband came close enough, though it rarely captured this to a T. So suffice to say the Fuelband has a tendency to miscount steps and in turn inaccurately calculate miles walked and calories burned. After syncing the Fuelband’s data to my iPhone this gross over counting was further reflected in the miles walked. On March 9th the Fuelband calculated that I walked 5.5 miles or 11k steps. Not possible, since that day I didn’t travel more than a few miles and that was by way of car; I’m a writer, so my days are often spent in front of a computer.
Okay, so the pedometer is hardly accurate, so what about the calorie counter? Would you be surprised if I told you that it over counted my calories burned by a two fold while exercising? During a few trips to the gym, where I ran and lifted weights, I wore a heart rate monitor and accompanying watch. After burning just 200 calories according to the heart rate monitor the Fuelband said I had burned more than 400 calories. Also, following my workout, which mind you is inside a relatively large gym, the Fuelband said I had taken over 6000 steps – just not possible.
It would seem that Nike, in their attempt to capture all things workout related, created too much of a gray area for the Fuelband to capture data. A quick swing or flick of the arm results in steps counted, which is great from a caloric standpoint if you’re lifting weights or punching the air, but hardly satisfactory if your shaking hands with someone. While I applaud Nike for attempting to make a dead simple device, the sacrifice in complexity has resulted is gross overstatements rendering the Fuelband, in my humble opinion, a great start, but most certainly would have benefited from much more Q&A.
But, despite the Fuelband’s inaccuracies, it still remains a great indicator of how often I am active. Run, lift weights and perform any type of exercise and Fuelband records it. Sure, I won’t know exactly how many steps you’ve taken – I most certainly proved that – or what sport you’ve engaged in, or how fast your heart is pumping, but at least I can effortlessly tally the days that I am.
That said, it’s the times when I’m NOT engaging in rigorous exercise that I want to know more about my couch potato, TV watching ways. Tell me how many steps I took to go to the bathroom or what I didn’t do on the days I was just too hungover and tired to remove my eyes from the TV. Needless to say, it’s frustrating that Nike would let a product that clearly has so much R&D invested, out the door and what appears to be all accounts untested. I asked if there was perhaps a way of calibrating the Fuelband, but I was assured that if entered my age, weight and height correctly that it would accurately capture my steps and thus my calories burned and Fuel consumed.
Bottom Line: Unable to accurately count steps and thus deduce calories burned. However, the design and coolness factor scores big points.
- Array of LED lights and design is awe inspiring
- Long battery life – 7+ days on a single charge
- Accompanying smartphone app is easy and simple to use
- Over counted my steps and thus calories and Fuel
- Band’s black finish will get marred quickly
- No exercise setting – this might help with accuracy
Want one? The Fuelband’s are selling like hotcakes. You can get one on Nike’s site for $150, though you’ll have to wait, or pay a premium ($200+) if you go the way of Ebay.
Nike FuelBand: The rise and fall of the wearable that started it all
It’s four years since the first Nike+ FuelBand went on sale in the US. Despite leaving this mortal coil so soon (two versions, three years) the FuelBand fitness tracker was undoubtedly a pioneer.
And while the wristband won’t be remembered as a sales juggernaut, its importance as a transformative product can’t be understated.
Essential reading: How does a fitness tracker work?
It might have launched after the first ever Fitbit, but this was the fitness tracker that got people comparing Fuel Points, even though no one ever really knew what Nike’s metric meant or how it was calculated. Yet it was exciting. While every device reports back on your activity, this was the first time we’d experienced that insight. It felt personal, refreshing… revolutionary.
Yet it wasn’t even close to perfect. You could sit at your desk waving your hand to ramp up your score and that built-in micro USB charging port felt like the genius moment from Nike until it stopped working and you had to get replacement after replacement.
While the original Jawbone UP was quietly snaring tech enthusiasts embracing a new era of the quantified self, Nike was putting a globally recognisable face on the movement.
Rather than Jawbone’s identikit fitness models, the FuelBand had LeBron James in commercials and Serena Williams wearing the product on court. That did more to raise the profile of fitness trackers than any of the others combined.
Beyond the hype, the Nike FuelBand was a solid, well-conceived first generation product, while the underpinning concept of Nike Fuel – a brand new currency for the exercise tracking – helped to change the game for the better.
In the early days, trackers were essentially pedometers on a rubber band. If you weren’t stepping it, you weren’t getting credit for it (at least without inputting the data yourself).
The FuelBand allowed you to accrue fuel for movement as well as steps. Other activities like yoga, weightlifting, cycling and cross training too could be quickly calibrated, albeit with varying degrees of success.
Heck, even if you were rolling out pastry, or curling your bicep to facilitate the secure transportation of beer into your mouth, you were racking up the Nike Fuel.
Essential reading: Fitbit Blaze review
Coloured LED lights represented progress towards simple, incentive-based targets without the need to mess with or open up your iPhone app. Need to complete your goal a few minutes before bed? Just take the dog for a walk or do a few sit-ups.
It wasn’t perfect, but the FuelBand seemed primed for greatness, with just a little tinkering plus the addition of some new features and the then-missing support for Android.
The second edition
The follow up Nike FuelBand SE, released in late 2013, added Bluetooth 4.0 for real-time syncing with the iPhone app, better battery life and an attractive colour line up, but it wasn’t the leap it needed to be. It wasn’t fully waterproofed, thus remaining useless to swimmers, but it did have additional social features. Yay!
However, while Nike was treading water, the competition was powering forward. By time the SE rolled around, there were more options out there from the likes of Fitbit, Jawbone and Misfit, geared towards fitness buffs as well as casual users.
With its 1.5 release, Nike had shown its unwillingness to go all the way, further evidenced by the continued failure to acknowledge that half of mobile users actually existed.
By the time a FuelBand app for Android arrived in July 2014 (two and a half years late), the writing was already on the wall. Nike was jumping off the bandwagon it helped set in motion, making the belated Android support nothing more than a token gesture.
Nike launched its running and training apps for Android, so why did it dally for so long on the FuelBand? Was it through some sense of loyalty to Apple, its long-time partner?
When tech’s capo dei capi Tim Cook – who incidentally sits on Nike’s board – was flashing around his personal FuelBand back in 2012 everything looked rosy. I mean, when does that ever happen?
In late 2014, it was actually rumoured that Nike was heavily involved in the creation of a new wearable from Apple. Could the Nike+iPod alliance, so successful in those early days, be reignited to spearhead a new breed of wearables? No.
The end of the FuelBand
In reality, with his early FuelBand-toting Apple’s CEO was essentially setting the stage for what was to follow, raising awareness and pushing along the market before the Apple Watch could come along and swallow it.
Rather than bringing Nike on board as a partner for the Apple Watch, and perhaps have Nike Fuel as the movement currency, Apple just aped the technology with its daily Move goals and built on it with a heart-rate sensor.
When the Apple Watch arrived in April 2015, Nike went back to being a third-party app on an Apple device.
Knowing it was coming, Nike just seemed to step out of the way, firing the FuelBand team (some of whom joined Apple) months before the Apple Watch went on sale.
In the post-FuelBand era Nike will go back to providing consumer-facing fitness data platforms, and Nike Fuel is available to developers through an API, but the days of the Oregon-based giant building tracking hardware are over for now.
Considering Nike did such a good job setting the pace, it’s a shame the firm is dropping out now the real race is underway. It seems like such a missed opportunity.
It wasn’t just the incremental SE update or the lack of Android support, Nike just didn’t put the machine behind the FuelBand in the way it could have.
It was really the first high profile marriage of consumer tech and fitness, which is now a multi-billion dollar industry. As Adidas, Under Armour, Asics and New Balance make big plays into tech, let’s hope Nike hasn’t missed an open goal.
What is spent nuclear fuel?
What is spent nuclear fuel? – Atomenergomash
Spent nuclear fuel is uranium that has worked in a nuclear reactor and contains radioactive fission products. Therefore, it is also called irradiated or burnt nuclear fuel.
How is SNF different from radioactive waste (RW)? First of all, the fact that SNF is a valuable product containing 2 useful components – unburned uranium and transuranium elements. In addition, fission products contain radionuclides (radioactive isotopes), which can be successfully used in industry, medicine, and also in scientific research.
After being removed from a reactor, spent nuclear fuel (SNF) retains radioactivity and releases heat. Therefore, for some time, such fuel is kept in pools under water to remove heat and protect against ionizing radiation. The next step could be:
- final disposal – completion of the open fuel cycle as is done in the US, Canada and Sweden.
- reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel for further use – closed fuel cycle. The path of the closed fuel cycle was chosen by Russia, Great Britain, France and Japan.
Spent nuclear fuel is initially stored directly in the reactor building. Then it is moved to another location in special “dry storage” warehouses. In the closed fuel cycle for today’s light water reactors, the fuel travels exactly the same path. Starting from uranium mines and factories, uranium goes through all the stages of transformation and enrichment for the manufacture of reactor fuel. After the fuel is removed from the reactor, the fuel rods are processed in refineries where they are crushed and dissolved in acid. After a special chemical treatment, two valuable products are recovered from the spent fuel: plutonium and unused uranium. Approximately 3% of the fuel remains as high-level waste. After bituminization, concreting or vitrification, these highly radioactive materials are subject to long-term disposal.
Spent nuclear fuel contains approximately 1% plutonium. This is a very good nuclear fuel that does not need any enrichment process. Plutonium can be mixed with depleted uranium to form mixed oxide or MOX fuel, which is supplied as fresh fuel assemblies for loading into reactors. It can be used to load into reactors. Recovered uranium can be returned for additional enrichment or supplied as fresh fuel for operating reactors. A closed fuel cycle is a more efficient system for maximizing the use of uranium without additional mining (in terms of energy units, the savings are about 30%). And although the industry immediately approved this approach, such schemes for the processing of spent nuclear fuel have not yet become widespread.
One of the reasons for the underutilization of uranium is that most of the existing industrial reactors are so-called “light water” LWRs. They are good in many ways, but they are not designed to squeeze all the energy out of the fuel to the last watt. However, there are other types of reactors – the so-called “fast” (fast neutron reactors), capable of “processing” spent fuel to extract much more energy.
Thermal power industry
Gas and petrochemistry
Innovative spent nuclear fuel reprocessing technology
Scientists from the Laboratory of Radiochemistry of the Geochemical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences have proposed an original solution for handling spent nuclear fuel for use in the nuclear industry. The scientific foundations for an innovative technology for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel have been created using a single and industrially proven extractant, tributyl phosphate, both for the regeneration of nuclear materials and for deep fractionation of liquid radioactive waste, i.e., processing by separating waste components according to the degree of danger (Fig. 1). The results were published in the anniversary collection “Advances in Geochemistry, Analytical Chemistry, and Planetary Sciences” by Springer Nature (Vinokurov et al., 2023).
An integrated methodology for reprocessing spent fuel will be in demand in the context of the transition of the Russian nuclear power industry to a closed nuclear fuel cycle. The key difference between a closed cycle and an open cycle lies precisely in the presence of a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing stage. If in an open cycle it is not reprocessed and the spent fuel assemblies are immediately placed in storage facilities, then in a closed cycle, specialists extract fissile nuclides for reuse, as well as other practically important radionuclides.
“The strategy for the development of the Russian nuclear industry is to close the nuclear fuel cycle in a two-component nuclear power system, that is, with a balanced use of thermal and fast neutron reactors. It is possible to achieve this goal only with the introduction of spent nuclear fuel reprocessing technology, which will be distinguished by efficiency, radiation safety and satisfactory economic indicators,” explained Sergey Vinokurov, Deputy Director for Research and Head of the Radiochemistry Laboratory of the Geochemical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The prospects for a closed nuclear fuel cycle in Russia are associated not only with the regeneration of uranium and plutonium, but also with the deep fractionation of the resulting radionuclides, that is, the separation of radionuclides into separate fractions, for example, according to their half-life or their degree of toxicity, as well as transmutation (transfer) americium and other long-lived nuclides produced by nuclear reactors into short-lived ones. Among other promising areas for the development of a closed cycle is the management of radioactive waste by conditioning and incorporation into solid stable matrices (for example, glass or mineral-like materials) for environmentally safe disposal. The Laboratory of Radiochemistry of GEOKHI RAS is developing a technology for reprocessing 4th generation spent nuclear fuel, which differs from the previous ones in its focus on a significant reduction in the volume of radioactive waste for deep burial.
“Our task is to optimize the stages of processing and create a unified technological scheme. Certain well-known and industry-proven solutions, in our opinion, require little or no intervention, such as a dissolution or head extraction step using a well-known extraction system in the industry. At the same time, based on the results of our work, we proposed new methods for isolating a group of transplutonium and rare earth elements from waste, then separating americium from this group for its potential transmutation, and developed new materials for the conservation of radionuclides,” Sergey Vinokurov said.