Factor’s Gift Guide: 10 present ideas for fitness fans

Struggling to find a suitable gift for the fitness enthusiast in your life? Never fear, Factor has you covered. Here’s ten gift ideas that are perfect for the gym bunny, thrill seeker or fitness fanatic in your life.

Misfit Ray

£79.99 from Misfit

A collaboration between Misfit and Speedo, the Ray is sure to keep fitness fans happy. The lightweight band automatically tracks steps, distance, calories and sleep. You can connect it to your phone to receive notifications and alarms or even control connected household devices. Swim-proof and with batteries lasting up to 6 months, the Misfit Ray is perfect for those wanting to keep an eye on their health at all times.

YI 4K Action Camera

£237.99 from Amazon


Billed as the best action camera ever, the YI provides professional-quality video at 4K/30fps at 60mbps, four times the quality of 1080p. Using seven layers of all-glass lenses and a new generation chip, the camera can shoot for two hours with a single charge. The YI is the perfect camera for those wishing to capture their adventures in perfect detail, whatever those may be.


£25 from Flipbelt


A comfortable belt alternative to the running armbands that can’t carry all your things or the bulky pouches slapping against your hip as you move, the FlipBelt is specifically designed to sit flat and securely on your hips, without bouncing or riding up. The ideal gift for the enthusiastic runner, the belt lets you easily and comfortably carry your essential items with you as you exercise.

Urbanista Boston Wireless earphones

£39.99 from Carphone Warehouse 


Lightweight, wireless and compatible with all Bluetooth devices, the Urbanista Boston earphones allow you to comfortably listen to music and talk on the move without any risk of tangled cables. Over-ear and noise cancelling, the Boston earphones make it easy to listen to your music no matter what you’re doing. Whether on the run or walking to work, these are a great choice of wireless earphones.

Under Armour HealthBox

£349 from HTC


Under Armour’s HealthBox is a connected fitness system comprised of four products that are designed to work in unison to measure, monitor and manage the various factors determining how you feel. The box contains the Band, a smart band measuring sleep and activity, Scale, a chest strap that tracks heart rate, and Record, the data collection app that helps you manage progress. The HealthBox is the ultimate package for fitness obsessives.

Bushnell 2016 Neo Ion Golf GPS Watch

£129.99 from Golf Bidder


Pre-loaded with 35,000+ courses in more than 30 countries, the Bushnell Neo Ion is the watch for the avid golfer in your life. Auto-course recognition, battery life for three full rounds and a shot distance calculator, this watch has it all. Thankfully, it comes with charging cable included and no membership or download fees. If your nearest as dearest fancies themselves a Rory McIlroy, this is definitely the timepiece for them.

Eider Shaper ski jacket

£400 from Eider


It may be niche, but if you have a beardy skier in need of a gift, this jacket is ideal. The Shaper’s Fix-A-Shape ergonomic zip is the first of its kind and, thanks to the shape of the teeth, is able to fit the jacket’s collar to the line of your face with no friction. Aside from the zip, the jacket is also made with a bi-density weave for maximum performance.

Gocycle G3

£3,299 from Gocycle

Conventional knowledge may suggest we’ve pretty much hit peak bicycle, but Gocycle begs to differ. Founded and designed by a former member of the Mclaren Cars design team, Gocycle’s G3 is innovative new electric bike that takes full advantage of automotive knowledge to deliver a ride that is ergonomic, elegant, lightweight, ingenious and fun. Unfortunately, however, it has a price tag to match.

TRX HOME Suspension Training Kit

£149 from TRX

Including the TRX Home Suspension Trainer, two anchoring solutions and six digital workouts, this suspension training kit is sure to make short work of getting your loved ones in shape. The kit can be set up anywhere in less than a minute, allowing fitness fans to never miss a workout. At home, in the park or on the beach, TRX’s kit is there to help build cores and sculpt that dream physique.

NW-WS410: Waterproof and Dustproof Walkman

£80 from Sony


Waterproof to a depth of 2m, sealed against sand, dust and grit and able to handle temperatures ranging from -5°C to 45°C, the NW-WS410 is the ultimate training partner. Designed to withstand the elements, the Sports Walkman is able to keep up with you no matter what. With up to 12 hours of battery life and an ergonomic shape that keeps the Walkman stable, it’s a great option for sporty music fans.

XPRIZE launches contest to build remote-controlled robot avatars

Prize fund XPRIZE and All Nippon Airways are offering $10 million reward to research teas who develop tech that eliminates the need to physically travel. The initial idea is that instead of plane travel, people could use goggles, ear phones and haptic tech to control a humanoid robot and experience different locations.

Source: Tech Crunch

NASA reveals plans for huge spacecraft to blow up asteroids

NASA has revealed plans for a huge nuclear spacecraft capable of shunting or blowing up an asteroid if it was on course to wipe out life on Earth. The agency published details of its Hammer deterrent, which is an eight tonne spaceship capable of deflecting a giant space rock.

Source: The Telegraph

Sierra Leone hosts the world’s first blockchain-powered elections

Sierra Leone recorded votes in its recent election to a blockchain. The tech, anonymously stored votes in an immutable ledger, thereby offering instant access to the election results. “This is the first time a government election is using blockchain technology,” said Leonardo Gammar of Agora, the company behind the technology.

Source: Quartz

AI-powered robot shoots perfect free throws

Japanese news agency Asahi Shimbun has reported on a AI-powered robot that shoots perfect free throws in a game of basketball. The robot was training by repeating shots, up to 12 feet from the hoop, 200,000 times, and its developers said it can hit these close shots with almost perfect accuracy.

Source: Motherboard

Russia accused of engineering cyberattacks by the US

Russia has been accused of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted critical infrastructure in America and Europe, which could have sabotaged or shut down power plants. US officials and private security firms claim the attacks are a signal by Russia that it could disrupt the West’s critical facilities.

Google founder Larry Page unveils self-flying air taxi

A firm funded by Google founder Larry Page has unveiled an electric, self-flying air taxi that can travel at up to 180 km/h (110mph). The taxi takes off and lands vertically, and can do 100 km on a single charge. It will eventually be available to customers as a service "similar to an airline or a rideshare".

Source: BBC

World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. When Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged 22, doctors predicted he would live just a few more years. But in the ensuing 54 years he married, kept working and inspired millions of people around the world. In his last few years, Hawking was outspoken of the subject of AI, and Factor got the chance to hear him speak on the subject at Web Summit 2017…

Stephen Hawking was often described as being a vocal critic of AI. Headlines were filled with predictions of doom by from scientist, but the reality was more complex.

Hawking was not convinced that AI was to become the harbinger of the end of humanity, but instead was balanced about its risks and rewards, and at a compelling talk broadcast at Web Summit, he outlined his perspectives and what the tech world can do to ensure the end results are positive.

Stephen Hawking on the potential challenges and opportunities of AI

Beginning with the potential of artificial intelligence, Hawking highlighted the potential level of sophistication that the technology could reach.

“There are many challenges and opportunities facing us at this moment, and I believe that one of the biggest of these is the advent and impact of AI for humanity,” said Hawking in the talk. “As most of you may know, I am on record as saying that I believe there is no real difference between what can be achieved by a biological brain and what can be achieved by a computer.

“Of course, there is unlimited potential for what the human mind can learn and develop. So if my reasoning is correct, it also follows that computers can, in theory, emulate human intelligence and exceed it.”

Moving onto the potential impact, he began with an optimistic tone, identifying the technology as a possible tool for health, the environment and beyond.

“We cannot predict what we might achieve when our own minds are amplified by AI. Perhaps with the tools of this new technological revolution, we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one: industrialisation,” he said.

“We will aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty; every aspect of our lives will be transformed.”

However, he also acknowledged the negatives of the technology, from warfare to economic destruction.

“In short, success in creating effective AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation, or the worst. We just don’t know. So we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and sidelined or conceivably destroyed by it,” he said.

“Unless we learn how to prepare for – and avoid – the potential risks, AI could be the worst event in the history of our civilisation. It brings dangers like powerful autonomous weapons or new ways for the few to oppress the many. It could bring great disruption to our economy.

“Already we have concerns that clever machines will be increasingly capable of undertaking work currently done by humans, and swiftly destroy millions of jobs. AI could develop a will of its own, a will that is in conflict with ours and which could destroy us.

“In short, the rise of powerful AI will be either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity.”

In the vanguard of AI development

In 2014, Hawking and several other scientists and experts called for increased levels of research to be undertaken in the field of AI, which he acknowledged has begun to happen.

“I am very glad that someone was listening to me,” he said.

However, he argued that there is there is much to be done if we are to ensure the technology doesn’t pose a significant threat.

“To control AI and make it work for us and eliminate – as far as possible – its very real dangers, we need to employ best practice and effective management in all areas of its development,” he said. “That goes without saying, of course, that this is what every sector of the economy should incorporate into its ethos and vision, but with artificial intelligence this is vital.”

Addressing a thousands-strong crowd of tech-savvy attendees at the event, he urged them to think beyond the immediate business potential of the technology.

“Perhaps we should all stop for a moment and focus our thinking not only on making AI more capable and successful, but on maximising its societal benefit”

“Everyone here today is in the vanguard of AI development. We are the scientists. We develop an idea. But you are also the influencers: you need to make it work. Perhaps we should all stop for a moment and focus our thinking not only on making AI more capable and successful, but on maximising its societal benefit,” he said. “Our AI systems must do what we want them to do, for the benefit of humanity.”

In particular he raised the importance of working across different fields.

“Interdisciplinary research can be a way forward, ranging from economics and law to computer security, formal methods and, of course, various branches of AI itself,” he said.

“Such considerations motivated the American Association for Artificial Intelligence Presidential Panel on Long-Term AI Futures, which up until recently had focused largely on techniques that are neutral with respect to purpose.”

He also gave the example of calls at the start of 2017 by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) the introduction of liability rules around AI and robotics.

“MEPs called for more comprehensive robot rules in a new draft report concerning the rules on robotics, and citing the development of AI as one of the most prominent technological trends of our century,” he summarised.

“The report calls for a set of core fundamental values, an urgent regulation on the recent developments to govern the use and creation of robots and AI. [It] acknowledges the possibility that within the space of a few decades, AI could surpass human intellectual capacity and challenge the human-robot relationship.

“Finally, the report calls for the creation of a European agency for robotics and AI that can provide technical, ethical and regulatory expertise. If MEPs vote in favour of legislation, the report will go to the European Commission, which will decide what legislative steps it will take.”

Creating artificial intelligence for the world

No one can say for certain whether AI will truly be a force for positive or negative change, but – despite the headlines – Hawking was positive about the future.

“I am an optimist and I believe that we can create AI for the world that can work in harmony with us. We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management and prepare for its consequences well in advance,” he said. “Perhaps some of you listening today will already have solutions or answers to the many questions AI poses.”

You all have the potential to push the boundaries of what is accepted or expected, and to think big

However, he stressed that everyone has a part to play in ensuring AI is ultimately a benefit to humanity.

“We all have a role to play in making sure that we, and the next generation, have not just the opportunity but the determination to engage fully with the study of science at an early level, so that we can go on to fulfill our potential and create a better world for the whole human race,” he said.

“We need to take learning beyond a theoretical discussion of how AI should be, and take action to make sure we plan for how it can be. You all have the potential to push the boundaries of what is accepted or expected, and to think big.

“We stand on the threshold of a brave new world. It is an exciting – if precarious – place to be and you are the pioneers. I wish you well.”