How the Misfit Shine Works

Lauren Vogelbaum

Misfit Wearables

We have a marvelous glut of fitness tracking accessories on the market these days, each a bit smaller and sleeker than the last. But Misfit Wearables set out to create one so pleasing that people wouldn't just want to wear it for its function, but for its form.

Aesthetics are subjective, of course, though Misfit's upcoming Shine is small and simple enough to go unnoticed, nestled in a pocket or attached to inner layers of clothing, should you not want to show it off. It's about the size of a couple stacked quarters [27.5 mm (1.08 inches) in diameter and 3.3 mm (0.13 inches) thick] and, until you activate it by touching its face, it appears to be a solid disk of aluminum. Which is what it's carved from - the manufacturing process involves, among other things, drilling tiny holes in aircraft-grade aluminum with microlasers. ("Aircraft grade," by the way, appears to be more of a marketing term than a finite descriptor. Several aluminum alloys, ranging in tensile strength and corrosion resistance according to what other elements they contain, are used in various interior and exterior parts of aircraft.)

When you do activate the Shine, a series of LEDs around the device's edge will light up according to how far along you've gotten in your fitness goals for the day, be they accomplished on foot, on bike or in the water - yes, the Shine is waterproof. You'll be able to set these goals via iOS or Android app, and sync the device (to download goals and upload your fitness data) wirelessly by placing it on your phone or tablet's screen. The particulars of this sync process are being kept under wraps, but blogger Aaron Miller posited - and I agree it's likely - that it may work via capacitive, battery-powered touch.

Said battery will be a replaceable lithium coin cell and should last for 4 to 6 months of daily use, according to Misfit. What else will the Shine contain? Gizmodo reports that it'll have an accelerometer - which is a motion sensor that measures changes in direction and velocity - but beyond that, this is another subject about which team Misfit has been less than forthcoming. I'm guessing a GPS receiver and hoping for something additional that will surprise us; Misfit has been touting "proprietary" sensors in their publicity materials.

Misfit Wearables knows a bit about publicity - they raised $846,438 for the Shine's production during an indiegogo campaign that ended in January of 2013. Founded by Sonny Vu and Sridhar Iyengar (erstwhile founders of AgaMatrix, a successful blood glucose device company) and former Apple CEO John Sculley, the company takes its name from Apple's iconic "Think Different" commercials. You know, "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. .... The ones who see things differently." The story goes that the founders were in a meeting about the venture when news of Steve Jobs' death broke, and the word resonated.

The company is hoping, though, that the Shine will be anything but a misfit. "We wanted to make something that would help inspire people to be more active by being elegant, by being a small part of someone's life," Vu says in a press video. A noble cause - and, given its apparent profitability, a sure-bet trend for the fitness trackers of the near future.

You can see more on Misfit's site - they're taking preorders for $99 ahead of the Shine's planned release in March 2013.