Wearables Helped Me Walk Across the US

Posted by Mike, on September 2, 2016

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

For those that do not know, I just completed a trip that changed my life. On March 17, 2016, after jumping in the water at Coney Island Beach in New York, I took off on foot for what would be a four-month, more than 3,600-mile journey until I jumped in the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica Beach near Los Angeles.

Now, I know what you might be thinking—what inspired you to do that?!

Simply, it was a bucket list item that I wanted to check off, inspired by tales of hiking the Appalachian Trail and, perhaps, more than a little, by Forrest Gump.

Where I Stopped Along the Way

The journey began in New York at Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn through to Manhattan where I stopped to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day before continuing on through the following states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California, stopping in many big cities like Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Denver and Las Vegas, and many small towns like Paw Paw, West Virginia.

In total, I walked through 15 states along the route, hiking up and down the Appalachians, across the Great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains, through canyons and across deserts. It was interesting to walk through snow while crossing the Continental Divide in the Rockies in mid-June and through 120-degree heat in the Mojave Desert a few weeks later. Some of my favorite parts of the journey were walking along historic canals and emigrant trails, and camping under the bright stars in remote parts of Colorado and Utah.

What I Brought in My Backpack 

In addition to plenty of water and a few changes of clothing, I carried high-tech essentials to keep tabs on both my health and business throughout the entire trip.

These included some of the wearable health monitoring devices that we are developing at SmartShape, like Vivanta Care heart rate monitor, activity tracker and temperature monitor, and Blue Spark Technologies TempTraq smart thermometer patch. Using TempTraq to monitor my body temperature while running through the extreme heat near Death Valley gave me assurance that I wasn’t overheating. These items not only gave me peace of mind, vital statistics and critical reports, but also gave me an extreme remote perspective to test and think about wearable technology in new ways, considering new applications and additional markets opportunities.

Other devices I used included Fitbit Flex, Plantronic hands-free talking device, LG hands-free talking device, Anker solar panel, Anker external battery, Petzl Reactik headlamp and Samsung Gear S2 smart watch. I also kept my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smart phone handy, for calls, emails and glances at the path ahead on Google Maps.

How You Can Help Me Share More on What I Learned About Wearables Along the Way

This trip gave me a lot of time to think about the existing wearables market—and where it could go in the future.

With that and the technology I brought with me in mind, our team at SmartShape has pitched my recent walk across the country with an angle on lessons learned about wearable technology, specifically my thoughts on how devices of this nature can improve in design to push past existing limitations, as a session at SXSW 2017!  

Speakers are selected partially by community voting, so if you'd like to help get me there, you can click on the link below and where it says "Cast Your Vote" click on the thumbs up icon. You'll be prompted and will need to create an account on the site to vote, if you do not have one set up already. You'll know your vote has submitted when the thumbs up icon turns green.

Link to support: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/61088 

And, of course, if you know of anyone else who can help vote, please feel free to pass the link along! Community voting officially ends today.

Any and all support is very much appreciated.