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

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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.

FlipBelt

£25 from Flipbelt

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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 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Scientists, software developers and artists have begun using VR to visualise genes and predict disease

A group of scientists, software developers and artists have taken to using virtual reality (VR) technology to visualise complex interactions between genes and their regulatory elements.

The team, which comprises of members from Oxford University, Universita’ di Napoli and Goldsmiths, University of London, have been using VR to visualise simulations of a composite of data from genome sequencing, data on the interactions of DNA and microscopy data.

When all this data is combined the team are provided with an interactive, 3D image that shows where different regions of the genome sit relative to others, and how they interact with each other.

“Being able to visualise such data is important because the human brain is very good at pattern recognition – we tend to think visually,” said Stephen Taylor, head of the Computational Biology Research Group at Oxford’s MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM).

“It began at a conference back in 2014 when we saw a demonstration by researchers from Goldsmiths who had used software called CSynth to model proteins in three dimensions. We began working with them, feeding in seemingly incomprehensible information derived from our studies of the human alpha globin gene cluster and we were amazed that what we saw on the screen was an instantly recognisable model.”

The team believe that being able to visualise the interactions between genes and their regulatory elements will allow them to understand the basis of human genetic diseases, and are currently applying their techniques to study genetic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and multiple sclerosis.

“Our ultimate aim in this area is to correct the faulty gene or its regulatory elements and be able to re-introduce the corrected cells into a patient’s bone marrow: to perfect this we have to fully understand how genes and their regulatory elements interact with one another” said Professor Doug Higgs, a principal researcher at the WIMM.

“Having virtual reality tools like this will enable researchers to efficiently combine their data to gain a much broader understanding of how the organisation of the genome affects gene expression, and how mutations and variants affect such interactions.”

There are around 37 trillion cells in the average adult human body, and each cell contains two meters of DNA tightly packed into its nucleus.

While the technology to sequence genomes is well established, it has been shown that the manner in which DNA is folded within each cell affects how genes are expressed.

“There are more than three billion base pairs in the human genome, and a change in just one of these can cause a problem. As a model we’ve been looking at the human alpha globin gene cluster to understand how variants in genes and their regulatory elements may cause human genetic disease,” said Prof Jim Hughes, associate professor of Genome Biology at Oxford University.

Using CRISPR, UK scientists edit DNA of human embryos

For the first time in the UK, scientists have altered human embryos. Using the gene-editing tool CRISPR, the scientists turned off the protein OCT4, which is thought to be important in early embryo development. In doing so, cells that normally go on to form the placenta, yolk sac and foetus failed to develop.

Source: BBC

Tesla and AMD developing AI chip for self-driving cars

Tesla has partnered with AMD to develop a dedicated chip that will handle autonomous driving tasks in its cars. Tesla's Autopilot programme is currently headed by former AMD chip architect Jim Keller, and it is said that more than 50 people are working on the initiative under his leadership.

Source: CNBC

Synthetic muscle developed that can lift 1,000 times its own weight

Scientists have used a 3D printing technique to create an artificial muscle that can lift 1,000 times its own weight. "It can push, pull, bend, twist, and lift weight. It's the closest artificial material equivalent we have to a natural muscle," said Dr Aslan Miriyev, from the Creative Machines lab.

Source: Telegraph

Head of AI at Google criticises "AI apocalypse" scaremongering

John Giannandrea, the senior vice president of engineering at Google, has condemned AI scaremongering, promoted by people like Elon Musk ."I just object to the hype and the sort of sound bites that some people have been making," said Giannandrea."I am definitely not worried about the AI apocalypse."

Source: CNBC

Scientists engineer antibody that attacks 99% of HIV strains

Scientists have engineered an antibody that attacks 99% of HIV strains and is built to attack three critical parts of the virus, which makes it harder for the HIV virus to resist its effects. The International Aids Society said it was an "exciting breakthrough". Human trials will begin in 2018.

Source: BBC

Facebook has a plan to stop fake news from influencing elections

Mark Zuckerberg has outlined nine steps that Facebook will take to "protect election integrity". “I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity," he said during a live broadcast on his Facebook page. "I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine our democracy.”