MIO Alpha Heart Rate Monitor – First Look

by Brian Mullin on June 10, 2013

The high tech ALPHA from Vancouver based MIO is the world’s first strapless, continuous heart rate monitor you can wear on your wrist. It uses light beams and electro-optical cell technology to calculate your heart rate, so no need to wear a chest strap monitor that always seems to droop downwards during a workout. You can use the readout from the watch and also wirelessly transfer the data to a smart device via Bluetooth. It comes in Black and White and retails for $199.

Company Propaganda
It has been tested EKG-accurate even while you are running at performance speeds of up to 20km/h (12mph)! Before ALPHA, the most common way to get an accurate heart rate continuously while exercising was to wear a strap around your chest. With ALPHA’s innovative technology, the world of heart rate monitoring will be changed forever!

 

Strapless continuous heart rate monitor
ALPHA is intuitive, with just two buttons to push and only the most essential features.

  • Continuous heart rate monitoring
  • No uncomfortable chest strap
  • Tested accurate at performance speeds
  • Bluetooth® Smart (4.0) technology connects with smartphones**
  • User-settable heart rate zones
  • Data review (total exercise time, average heart rate, time “in zone”)
  • Exercise timer
  • Clock

How Does Alpha Work?
Two light beams and an electro-optical cell “sense” the volume of blood under your skin. Because the blood volume pulsates in the rhythm of the heart, so does the signal from the electro-optical cell. This signal is processed by an advanced electronics circuit and passed on to a highly specialized computer program that is embedded in the ALPHA. To date, the stumbling block with this type of technology has been the arm movements while walking or running strongly interfere with the electro-optical signal to the point that it is no longer possible to extract the heart rate from it. In order to solve this problem the ALPHA has been provided with a separate motion detector. The computer program is able to use the information from this detector to compensate for the disturbance that is generated in the electro-optical signal by walking or running motions. As a result, the ALPHA can display an accurate heart rate even during motion-intense activities.

Specifications

  • Soft silicone strap
  • Negative dot-matrix LCD
  • Intuitive 2-button navigation
  • Tri-color LED heart rate zones
  • Secure snap latching system
  • Bluetooth® Smart wireless transmitter
  • USB charging dock with magnetic alignment
  • Rechargeable lithium polymer battery

Photos courtesy of MIO.

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