Internet connection to view web page stats.
Internet Explorer 4.0 or above, Netscape 4.0 or above, or AOL 5.0 or above. (The
SportBrain Web site is not compatible with WebTV)
How active are you? If you are an average person like myself, you might
be surprised at just how non-active you are. I know that I’m pretty sedentary.
I basically get up, go to work, sit at a desk for 8hrs, come home and sit at my
computer for 2hrs, eat dinner, sit in front of the TV for 2hrs, go back to my
computer for 1hr, and then
go to bed for 8hrs. I don’t see any exercising listed in that daily routine do
you? My excuse was always that I didn’t have time to exercise. I work a full
time job and then come home to work on The Gadgeteer as another basically full
time job. Who has time to fit a workout into their day?
A year ago I purchased a treadmill. My intentions were to start using it. I
did use it a few times here and there, but didn’t get into any type of a
routine. Then last fall, I had an ankle injury that left me hobbling around for
several weeks. That was another really good excuse not to workout.
Then one of our readers sent me the link to the SportBrain and since then,
I’ve been putting effort into getting more active.
What is a SportBrain? It’s a small plastic module that you can slip over the
waistband of your pants. Every time you take a step, the SportBrain records it.
At the end of the day, you pop the Brain into a docking station which is plugged
into a phone line. The dock then uploads your data for the day to the web where
you can immediately view it.
The basic idea is that if you can walk at least 10,000 steps a day, you will
be a healthy person. The SportBrain helps you track those steps.
The module itself (which they call the Tracker) is small and light weight. It
easily slips over the waistband of your jeans, sweats or any type of pants. The
brain is powered by a CR2032 coin cell battery (included). The battery should
power the Tracker for 3 months. I’ve been using mine for almost a month and
haven’t changed the battery yet.
With every step that you take, a small green LED on the Tracker blinks. At
first I found myself constantly looking down at the Tracker on my waist to see
if was blinking as I walked.
The docking station which is called the SportPort is powered by 3 AAA
batteries (included), which should last for approximately a year. The SportPort is actually a modem and as such has to have
a phone line plugged into it in order to dial out to the SportBrain server. You
can easily plug it in between your phone and the wall jack. Everything you need
The Tracker snaps into the port relatively easily. Sometimes I worry that I
might break off the little Tracker clip but that has not happened yet. There are
no buttons or switches on the Port. There is just an LED that blinks green as
the data is being uploaded. It will also blink red, if there is any type of
error up-loading your data.
If you want to keep track of your heart rate, you can also purchase a the
Heart Rate Strap. This strap is a heart rate monitor which is great because it
is wireless. You just use the elastic band to hold it around your chest and it
transmits the signal to your Tracker. Every time your heart beats, the little
LED on the Tracker on your waist blinks.
The Heart Rate Strap is also powered by a CR 2032 battery.
If you already have a heart rate monitor, it is possible that it might be
compatible with the SportBrain. You can check the SportBrain website for a list
of compatible straps.
Overall the SportBrain hardware is very easy to use and set up. It is also
pretty sturdy… as my Tracker has suffered several drops onto a hard floor and
still works fine.
Below is a diary from Judie and I that maps out our experiences with the
12/17/00 – Julie: One of our readers Robert
A. Foster saw the SportBrain site on the net let me know about it. I added
it to the New Gizmos section and thought it would
be a great review item. I also thought that getting one for me AND one
for Judie would be a really fun way to do a dual
review that involved some competition.
12/17/00 – Judie: Julie sent me an e-mail with a link to the SportBrain site, simply saying
“this looks interesting.” My exact reply was, “Ooooo, get us
one!”. She told me about the competition idea, which I thought was
great, because I love competing for anything. I looked at the site for a bit
and was impressed with what I saw – especially with the fact that they offer
“contests”, in the form of rewards for steps walked each day. Wow – so
even if you didn’t have a buddy to “compete” with – you could still
have a real motivation to actually stick with it!
Since I just had to keep learning about our possible new review subject, I
went to the Tour
pages. I almost freaked when I saw my name spelled correctly at the top of the
page! It was like a sign to get off my butt and do this! I wrote Julie back
asking if it still said “Judie” when she went to the page, or if
somehow it was personalizing to my name. She calmed me down, and assured me that
I wasn’t having a “Twilight Zone” moment, it said “Judie”
when she accessed it, too. :0)
12/20/00 – Julie: Received 2 SportBrains and 1 heart monitor strap today!
I am really anxious to try them, but Judie and I
have decided that we should start using them at the same time. I’m going to mail
hers to her tomorrow.
– Judie: I received my SportBrain – it was very easy
to set up my personal account and web page. The page is great, there are little
messages to get you motivated:
There’s an area for your steps so far today, and all of your steps yesterday.
Along with the little “Happy Heart” you are supposed to try to fill
up. Tomorrow I should actually have some results to show. Also, there is a graph
that shows how you are doing according to your goal, and how you are faring
against all the other people in your age/sex group! I’ll show those items
I invited Julie to join me as a SportGuest. I was very pleased to see that since
there was no local service number – I was able to use a toll free line.
One of the coolest things about this that I can see so far, is that there are no
hidden costs. You get a free web page to check your stats on, and if you don’t
have a local number, they give you the free one to use – I mean how often does this
12/23/00 – Julie: Judie received her SportBrain and set it up so that I
could view her progress. I did the same with mine.
It was really easy to setup. You do it all thru the web. Then you plug in the
unit into a phone line (between your phone and the wall jack…. you can still
use your phone) and pop the little module in and it automatically dials out and
syncs your steps! There’s no buttons, switches or anything. It must go out to the
web and check your info to see if there is a local phone number to dial. If
there isn’t, it uses an 800 number. Great thing is, that once you buy the
SportBrain, you don’t pay for any services. Since it is almost Christmas, we originally
decided to start using them the day after Christmas… then we changed our minds
and decided to start right away. We can’t resist trying out a new gadget!
– Judie: I received this letter from SportBrain:
You’ve successfully registered with SportBrain. As a
member, you’re entitled to distant parking spaces, frequent walking breaks away
from your desk, and a more energetic day. User name: xxxxxxx Password: xxxxxx
We recommend you save this email or print a copy for future reference. To change
your registered information such as your username, password, or mailing address,
log into SportBrain and click Profile at the top of the page. Make every step
count, Your friends at SportBrain
I thought that that was friendly and humorous! :0)
I am getting used to wearing my SportBrain all
the time – I am a confirmed SLUG. Very easy to upload info – just press into
modem, and wait a couple minutes, then go back to computer and look at progress!
Fun & motivational! We agreed to start on treadmills Wednesday! It just
really sunk into my thick skull that they give PRIZES at this site if you fulfill the
requirements! Wanted to start one of the “events”, as they call them
– but there wasn’t one going right now that I could do. It looks like
they run for 15 days at a time – so I will have to wait for the next Event!
I got a letter from Julie inviting me to watch her SportBrain progress:
Julie has invited you to share in the SportBrain
experience and the quest for 10000 steps using SportBrain! To begin, you must
click the link below or copy and paste it into your browser window. http://www.sportbrain.com/SportGuest/SGPassword.cfm?id=50084245190225671826721802
After you have registered by clicking the link above, you may visit Julie’s
SportBrain home page anytime you like, either by saving this email or simply
and selecting SportPeople from the top navigation bar. If you don’t want to view
your friend’s progress, but you do want to find out more about SportBrain, go to
Here are some results from yesterday, as promised: You can see that I didn’t
get anywhere near my goal yesterday, and that all the other women in the 30-35
age group are creaming me!
This is really great! I am thinking about sending the same form letter to all
of my alumnae sorority sisters, so they can watch my progress – or lack of, and
also so they can leave me SportNotes! These are little e-mails people can send
you when they log in to your SportBrain page.
4,220 steps today. My goal is 8000, so obviously I am way short! UGH!
12/24/00 – Julie: I don’t even notice that I have the SportBrain on my
waist band. It’s totally light weight and not obtrusive. We have decided to do
normal activity for the first couple days and then we’ll start trying to
accumulate as many steps a day as we can. Why do I think that Judie is going to
totally walk all over me during this review?! 🙂 3,075 steps today
– Judie: I am getting completely used to wearing
the SportBrain – I check it constantly to make sure it’s there. Julie & I
would like to be able to somehow load web page info onto our iPAQ’s! It would
be soooo cool if there was a conduit available to do that. We also want
to be able to see each other’s graphs and other more personal info, instead of
just a daily amount of steps. Have to
ask if that’s possible!
3,438 steps today. Can you say…SLUG? :0)
12/25/00 – Julie: Christmas day – I’m addicted to walking around and then
uploading the data just to check how many steps I’ve accumulated since the last
sync. Then I automatically go check Judie’s page to see if she’s got more steps
than I do. So far we’re pretty much even… I can see how this tool could be
very motivational to a slug like myself! 2,240 steps today
– Judie: I took some time to explore the extra things
you can keep track of – and added various body measurement frames to my page – wish
it was possible to graph these things, too! Also added BMI – there needs to a
BMI calculator imbedded in page – had to search the net for a good one, which
I found at the National
Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. I did 6,377
steps today – a little better, but still not quite my goal!
12/26/00 – Julie: Ordered a set of different colored snap on faces for
the brain…. yeah, I’m a dork! 🙂 I’m wishing that I could see more of Judie’s
data. All I can really see is her steps for the current day and the day before.
It would be nice if I could allow her to see all my data and visa versa. Used
the heart monitor strap. It’s pretty cool to see your heart rate on the graphs
page. Wow, I have a fast heart rate! 2,980 steps today
12/27/00 – Judie: I did 30 minutes on the treadmill, and when I uploaded it, it didn’t show!
Yikes! I reloaded, and the same thing happened!!!!! I e-mailed SportBrain customer
service & Michele Hickford, the co-founder of the company (!) almost
immediately responded. Excellent customer service!!!! Michelle made me her
SportGuest, and so I was able to see what a “non-slug’s” steps look like!
Michelle also told me that, “NEXT
YEAR WE’LL BE INTRODUCING A SCALE THAT ACTUALLY TRANSMITS YOUR WEIGHT TO
YOUR SPORTBRAIN AND AUTOMATICALLY GRAPHS IT.” Too
cool! Julie & I agreed that we will have to get one of those!
I also got a reply about wanting to know if they had plans in the future to
make it compatible with Pocket PC or Palm type devices: “THAT’S
A VERY COOL IDEA. WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON FIRST OF ALL IS EXPANDING OUR
“PLATFORM” SO THAT MORE THINGS CAN TALK TO THE SPORTBRAIN
(SCALE, CYCLOMETER, ETC). BUT THEN THE NEXT THING IS TO SEE WHAT ELSE
WE CAN TALK TO.”
Right here and now, I have got to say that there is nothing more excellent
than having the co-founder of a company, any company, actually LISTEN to
Julie thinks she’s dorky for ordering the 4 face plates for the SportBrain –
but I think we must be right up there on the geek ladder together, because I
signed up for the “Face of the Month” club for $49! As the name
implies, you are supposed to get a new face, once a month, for a year. They are
going to have some “special edition” faces – how was I supposed to
pass up on that?? Go ahead and say it! All of you together! GEEK! DORK!
Yep – that’s me! :0)
I ordered a SportBrain for my 11 year-old daughter, Sarah. She thinks it
looks like fun to track how many steps she gets in a day! I did 8,072 steps
12/27/00 – Julie: Ugh. I have developed a horrible head cold over
night…. and this was supposed to be my first ACTIVE day on the treadmill. Went
ahead and walked for 27 mins. Feel dead but am glad that I’ll have more steps
today! 5,262 steps today 150 avg. BPM heart rate while walking on TM.
12/28/00 – Judie: Missed my goal of 8000 by 900 steps! UGH! Didn’t feel good, and didn’t
feel like moving! I did 34 minutes on the treadmill, and then threw in the
towel! I did manage to record my stats. There can be no snickering out there
when you read these – OH! The things I will do for a review! :0/
12/28/00 – Julie: Still feeling puny… Probably won’t have many steps
today. I’d rather sit in a chair than walk around due to the fact that I can’t
breath. 2,856 steps today.
12/29/00 – Judie: I did 50 minutes on the treadmill! I am so into this doo-dad! Now my husband
wants one, too! I missed my goal of 8000 yesterday – I don’t want that to
happen again, now that I am in the groove!!!
I signed up for an event that will start on Jan 01, 01. What a great
My target points will be 700 – sounds really easy when you think they mean
700 steps – but what that really means is 70,000 steps! For every 100 steps,
you get 1 point. This means that I will have to do 70,000 steps between Jan 01
– Jan 14. Can I do it? Sure! This breaks down to fewer than 5,000 steps a day!
Piece of CAKE!
One thing though – you have to make sure you really want to do what you
enroll in – because once the event starts, you can’t switch to another one!
You can however switch as many times as you want up until the day the event
So what will I get for the event I signed up for? I’ll get 50% off up to
four SportBrain trackers! At the rate I am going I will need every one of them,
because every one that has seen mine wants one! I’ll wait to order B’s until
I win!! :0) I did 13.440 steps today!!
12/29/00 Julie: Ugh… I’m feeling like my head was run over by a train
and Judie is walking on the TM for 60mins! She’s a maniac! But, seeing her steps
motivated me to take my Kleenex carrying butt to the TM and do 30mins. 5,335
12/30/00 – Judie: This was my second day of doing over 10,000 steps – I wonder how long I can
keep this up?? I really am motivated, though! I did 12,643 steps today!
12/30/00 – Julie: Had a problem today where I tried to sync my steps and
the dock started blinking red instead of green. Tried it again and had the same
problem. Waited for a few mins and tried again… this time it worked. Weird.
5,481 steps today.
12/31/00 – Judie: I am getting a little worried about what will happen when I go to Market in
January. I signed on for an activity and I know I won’t be getting any
Sportivities done while I am gone. I might still get in my 5000 steps a day –
I HOPE!!! 14,016 steps today! :0)
12/31/00 – Julie: Walked on the treadmill twice
today for a total of 42mins. I’m never going to
beat Judie at daily total steps!!! 6,245 steps today.
01/01/01 – Judie: What a great day! I have decided that the only thing needed to make this the
most awesome program available would be either their own form of diet tracking,
or if there were some way it could integrate with existing programs, such as Vivonic. That would be the TOTAL Package!!!!
I wrote to Michele, once again, and this was her reply, “It’s
something we want to do, but there’s no release schedule yet. We definitely want
to find an easy way for people to track calories (and make it hard to cheat!).”
Good Idea! :0)
I started my activity today, and I
am well on my way!!! I’ll get on the tready a little later, and put in my
hour! :0) 11,251 steps today.
1/2/01 – Julie: Back to work after vacation. Just going to do a normal
“sit on my butt” day to see how much of a slug that I am while I’m at
work. 3,512 steps today.
01/03/00 – Judie: Julie brought up a really good point today: there needs to be an easier way to get
to your buddy’s pages. Right now it’s pretty round-a-bout, unless we are
missing a shortcut, somehow. Also, we would like to be able to see more detail
on our Buddy pages!
I crapped out on the tready tonight – I didn’t eat enough dinner, or
something, and about 40 minutes into my workout – I thought I was going to
pass out! I gave up, and went to get something to eat.
Sarah used her brain for the first full day today, and logged in over 10,000
steps! No wonder that little girl is SOLID muscle!!! :0) I only did 8,161.
I would like to bring up something right here…this is a great way to
motivate your child to move! Not only is Sarah signed up for the $5 off
certificate from CD Now, she is also having FUN beating her mother at steps!
This is such a great thing to do together!
01/04/01 – Judie: I am still feeling yucky. I am not sure what’s going on with me, but the
thought of getting on the tready makes me want to throw up! Only 3,202 steps
1/4/01 – Julie: I’m wondering if there is a calibration problem with
the SportBrain. I find that my TM shows that I’m walking at a faster speed and
doing more distance than what is showing up on my SportBrain stats page. I
wonder which is more accurate…? 4,352 steps today. The first day that I beat
Judie at steps! Woo woo!
01/05/01 – Judie: I will do my hour tonight if it kills me! I got a new (to me) WinCE gadget today, and
haven’t been able to tear myself away…yet! :0) 8,653 steps today…I am trying
to get back on track. Sarah is continuing to kick Julie’s and my butts! She does
over 8,000 points a day – some days hitting 14,000!
1/5/01 – Julie: Let’s face it, I’m a slug! How the heck does Judie walk
60mins a day on that TM? I can’t get myself to even walk 30mins every other day.
Ugh! 3,539 steps today.
10/06/01 – Judie: 10,502 steps today. This has got to be my best week yet!
1/6/01 – Julie: Walked 35mins today! Yay me! 6,874 steps today.
01/07/01 – Judie: I am kicking butt! Doing 10,000 points a day – I am also almost done with my
activity! I think I may have it finished, and my prize won before I have to
leave for market!!! I did 10,467 steps today. :0)
1/7/01 – Julie: 3,571 steps today
01/08/01 – Judie: Okay – so I decided to slack off a bit, today! Jeez, why is it I feel soooo
guilty? Maybe it’s because all I have to do is look at my calendar, and I can
see the drastic difference between today and yesterday! I did 3,982 steps today.
1/8/01 – Julie: I heard somewhere that the average number of steps that
people walk a day is around 3,000. Looks like that I’m right in that average
when I don’t walk on the TM….3,279 steps today
01/09/01 – Judie: I have hit 102% on my activity thing. I won my reward, before I left for
:0) I am disappointed that I couldn’t enroll for another reward right away – but at least it’s only 5
more days till the next one starts!! :0) I did 4,283 steps today. I need to get
back in gear! :0/
1/9/01 – Julie: 3,020 steps today
01/10/01 – Judie: 4,095 steps today. It’s official – I am a slug. :0( I leave for Dallas
tomorrow – I really think my numbers will improve, but unfortunately – I will
have no way to check them! I am going to leave the SportPort in San Angelo so
Sarah can load her SportBrain every day. At least I will be able to look up her
steps for her from Dallas. I am taking my IBM z50, an HPC WinCE device, and I’ll
be able to connect to the web with it. :0) Hopefully I will have a pleasant
surprise waiting when I get back to San Angelo – I’ll get to see what it looks
like when you are on your feet all day! I will also get to test out the memory
on this little device. It is supposed to able to store around a week’s worth of
steps without being “dumped” – so I am going to put it to the
I am a little bummed out – the “Face of the Month” evidently isn’t
going to happen just yet. I guess it was accidentally offered, and I signed up
for it, before they could remove the option. I couldn’t believe it though, since
it wasn’t being offered, and I had ordered the package – the folks at
SportBrain “FedExed” me a January edition SportFace with an
interesting pattern in blue to it, with a very nice apology. Of course, blue is
Sarah’s favorite color – so I had to give it up almost as soon as I had received
1/10/01 – Julie: 2,932 steps today
01/11/01 – Judie: I spent most of the day in a truck riding from San Angelo to Dallas – which
took about 5 hours. Ugh, once I got home, I found that I only had 2,324 steps
today! I think I have hit an all-time low. :0P
1/11/01 – Julie: Today I didn’t feel like doing diddly and you can tell!
2,260 steps today
01/12/01 – Judie: I was on my feet all day, promoting the products that my husband makes. I had
several people ask me what kind of pager I was wearing – which gave me an
excellent opportunity to tell them all about Julie’s and my contest, and the
product that has become my “constant companion”! I did 6,440 today.
Well under my goal – but at least an improvement over my sorry numbers from the
past couple days!
1/12/01 – Julie: 3,390 steps today
01/13/01 – Judie: I found out the hard way that the internet way of checking your points
does not work with a CE based device. Sarah was dying to know what her steps
were up to – and so I agreed to check for her. I was greeted with the message
that “Oops! We’d love to welcome you to SportBrain.com, but for this Beta
version we are only supporting Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape 4.0 and
above.” What a bummer!!! I had 5,482 steps today.
1/13/01 – Julie: Got back to walking on the TM today! Walked for 35mins.
6,081 steps today
01/13/01 – Judie: I had 3,994 steps today – sounds cruddy – but you can tell I was on my feet
all day! Look at this graph:
1/14/01 – Julie: Walked for 33 mins on the TM. 5,649 steps today
01/15/01 – Judie: 4,613 Steps today – more of the same. On my feet all day – but not really
being able to move much more than a 10′ x 30′ booth will allow. :0(
1/15/01 – Julie: 5,554 steps today
01/16/01 – Judie: 11,318 steps – Not because I wanted to, either! It was 38 degrees in Dallas,
and raining! We had to dismantle the booth, which was no easy affair, I promise
you. Then we had to make about 600 trips to the truck which was parked what
seemed like a million miles away – in the cold nasty rain! I was looking for a
RedCap to help us out, but I guess all the other exhibitors had the same idea.
So that is why I had an explosion of activity. Now for the bad part…I am
sicker than a dog, and I have a sore throat that you would not believe. I
already had laryngitis – now I sound like a frog with laryngitis! Bummer!
1/16/01 – Julie: 3,401 steps today
01/17/01 – Judie: I am so glad to be home! Because I am so sick, I am not going to be going
near the treadmill for a couple of days at least. Knowing that Julie and I are
nearing the end of our contest – I feel like I am going out with a whimper,
instead of a bang! The good news, though, is that I intend to continue using my
SportBrain forever! I have never had an item like this that could keep me on
track in such a manner – without the ability to “fudge” my results!
The thing of it is – you can’t cheat! You can’t make yourself feel better about
what a bad day you had step-wise by fudging your numbers with what you think you
should have accomplished! You either did your steps – or you didn’t – and the
SportBrain lets you know with almost brutal honesty! Oh – and I had 3,203 steps
1/17/01 – Julie: Went to the mall on my lunch hour. Was surprised to see
that part of that walking around was counted as a Sportivity on my web stats
page! 5,760 steps today.
01/18/01 – Judie: Still feeling poorly, still sound like a frog…and I only did 3,672 steps
today. That’s okay, because I know that when I feel better – I will get back in
1/18/01 – Julie: I found that the SportBrain kept coming off my
waistband today when I was cleaning house. Stooping and bending tend to make it
push up and off my pants. Even though I’m using the little ‘leash’ for it, I
think they should think about having more of a clip that grabs your pants. It’s
hard telling how long the SportBrain was dangling from my belt loop while I was
running around sweeping floors. I hate thinking I missed recording a bunch of
steps due to that problem. Also had the blinking red light problem again tonight
with the Port. 4,112
01/19/01 – Judie: Well, this is the last day I am going to record for posterity…4,714
steps…and I am okay with it. I still feel like I was hit by a truck, but I
also know that as soon as I am better – I will get my numbers right back where
they belong. The good news is that my stats are actually excellent…take a
Although I managed to gain 2 pounds over time – probably from all the steak
dinners while at Market in Dallas – I still managed to lose inches! I lost
an inch from my chest, 1/2″ from my hips, a full inch from my waist, and
1/2″ from my thigh! Yay! There is something to be proud of! :0)
In any case, I can completely see using this product for the long run. It is
easy to use, unobtrusive, and fun – perfect for families, teams, or buddies!
1/19/01 – Julie: Last review entry for me.
Although I didn’t reach my goal of 8000 steps once during the review period, I
do feel Like I have increased my overall activity from slug to turtle level. I
was surprised to notice that even just a slight increase in daily activity has
allowed me to lose 3 lbs in this last month! I know I still have a long way to
go to really getting into the groove, and I think this little gadget is going to
help keep me motivated to do just that. I’d recommend the SportBrain to anyone
that wants to improve their activity level. As long as you have access to the
Internet, it’s a tool that anyone can use.
Price: $99 for one SportBrain, SportPort, & SportFace (30
day money back guarantee / 1yr warranty), $49.95 for Heart Rate Strap, $9.99 for
additional SportFace packs.
To see the full catalog of available SportBrain accessory products, click
So easy to do, even a child can manage it
Personal web-page from which you can track progress – or lack of
No cheating allowed
EXCELLENT customer service and support
Have to have an internet connection to view data
Would like to be able to view homepage from a CE device
Need a direct link to Buddy pages
Need a way to graph weight