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Striiv has taken the humble step counter and turned it into a “personal trainer in your pocket.” The Redwood City, Calif.-based company says that in the two months since its release, the company’s step-counting gadget has inspired people to walk a lot more frequently and farther.

The results show that it is possible to change the behavior of sedentary people and make them more fit. As such, the company has begun to validate its belief that “gamifying” fitness with positive feedback could create a more healthy population.

Striiv counts the number of steps you walk in a day. If you swipe across the screen, you can see how many miles you’ve walked, how many stairs you’ve climbed, the number of minutes you’ve spent being active, and the number of calories burned. You are prompted to do more with rewards and achievements, such as energy to build things in a fantasy world.

After 12 weeks, the majority of Striiv users check their results about 29 times every day to see how many steps they walked. That’s nearly as frequently as they look at email on their smartphones (34 times). The more people use Striiv, the more they walk. Users who unlock the Striiv gadget (pictured) 34 times a day walk about 69 percent more than users who unlock Striiv just five times a day.

“There is a handful of gadgets geared to health, like Nike’s FuelBand which claims ‘life’s a sport,’” said David Wang, chief executive of Striiv. “But we are for everyday, busy people, who may not have time for the gym, or aren’t avid athletes. Striiv fits into any schedule; making it fun and meaningful is the key.”

Wong said that the longer people have the product, the more they use Striiv. And the more they interact with it, the more they walk. Striiv charts your progress and tracks your records, such as how much you walk in a day on average. I’ve used Striiv for about a month and it tells me I walk 8,622 steps on average, or 4.1 miles a day. My personal best was 7.8 miles walk during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Knowing that makes me want to beat those records.

Striiv also has a “walkathon” feature where the company donates toward causes such as clean water, polio vaccines or saving the rainforest. The more you walk, the more it donates.

On average, Striiv users are walking nearly 60 minutes per day. They log about 3 miles per day and walk up eight flights of stairs per day. The Striiv device costs $99 and is available on the Home Shopping Network, HSN.com, Amazon, and Striiv.com.

The company was founded in 2010 and it has raised $7.5 million to date. Investors include Ronald Chwang of iD Ventures; Colin Angle, founder of iRobot; Dado Banatao of Tallwood Ventures (a private investment); along with other angel investors.

Rival technologies include Basis, which makes a wrist band that you wear so that it can measure both your movement, heart rate, and perspiration. Other rivals are FitBit, Jawbone, and Nike.

[Image credits: Striiv]


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