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Even hula hoops are getting the 'smart' treatment

Hips-on with the Vhoop.
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It's been roughly 20 years since I picked up a hula hoop and wiggled my waist with the elegance of, well, a technology journalist with zero coordination. But here I am, in the middle of Mobile World Congress, shaking my booty while a dozen or so attendees look on with a mixture of amusement and befuddlement. I'm trying out the Vhoop, a chunky ring with an embedded motion sensor that tracks your workouts in real-time. They're sent via Bluetooth to a companion app that lists your clockwise and counter-clockwise revolutions, calories burned and workout duration.

I used the hula hoop for a good few minutes and everything worked as promised. The final version of the app will include leaderboards — if you fancy racing your friends in the park, or competing with the world from the comfort of your living room — a detailed history section, trophies and push notification reminders. The hoop itself is a sturdy contraption, comprising of a polypropylene outer shell and rubbery elastomer inner. I didn't feel any discomfort while hooping, though that might be because I could only manage 20 or so revolutions before the ring fell dramatically to the floor.

The Vhoop weighs three and a half pounds and lasts 15 hours on a single charge. It's also waterproof, and can be broken down into eight pieces for easy storage and transportation. If you're looking for a challenge, the hoop comes with coin-like weights that slip inside the various segments. I can see the appeal, though $120 seems a little steep for a casual fitness tracker. The data is undeniably useful — like a pedometer, it's an easy way to monitor your progress and set new goals — but ultimately, you can do the same thing by watching the hoop and keeping count the traditional way.

The Vhoop was pitched on Kickstarter last July and raised $14,290 from 141 backers. A few months later, the team launched an open-ended pre-order campaign on Indiegogo — at the time of writing it's made $15,176. I was told by a company spokesperson that the first units will ship in April, but of course that doesn't guarantee the Vhoop will ever see the light of day. The version I tried seemed ready for store shelves, but as with all Kickstarter projects — it's best to be a little skeptical. Now excuse me while I try to crack my all-time hula hooping high of 25 clockwise revolutions...

Catch up on the latest news from MWC 2018 right here.

Source: Vhoop
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Nick Summers is a senior reporter, editor and photographer at Engadget. He studied multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University and holds an NCTJ certificate. Nick previously worked at The Next Web and FE Week, an education-focused newspaper in the UK.

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