With every other booth on the show floor displaying some type of wearable, it is refreshing to see something new at the TAO Wellness booth where the company shows off a device that has been nicknamed the WellShell.
A compact, palm-sized device with an OLED display, the WellShell looks a little like a futuristic remote control — with no buttons. Instead, the WellShell operates using tilting, tapping, and pressing to activate its force and pressure sensors.
So, in order to turn it on, you tilt it back and forth, and in order to exercise using the WellShell, you press on both sides while following instructions on a tablet or smartphone.
That's because the WellShell operates using isometric principles — which is essentially contracting muscles in static positions. It uses Bluetooth to connect to an Android app that displays coaching, tracking, and analysis in a clean and colorful graph and charts.
The WellShell calibrates to your strength and monitors your heart rate while the Android-only app guides you through around 75 different exercises using a gaming-style screen.
When I tested it out on the show floor, the goal was to press the WellShell hard or softly, according to the app's voice instructions, in order to guide a small virtual skier through flags. It was actually a lot more challenging than I had anticipated — and a lot more fun.
In addition to exercise, the WellShell app will also track your sleep and nutrition information. However, while you can sleep with the WellShell in order to have it track your nighttime ZZZs, you'll have to input your food log manually into the app.
Although it's only a prototype at the moment, TAO has already developed an even smaller version of the WellShell and is developing an iOS version of the app.
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