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.

Robot takes first steps towards building artificial lifeforms

A robot equipped with sophisticated AI has successfully simulated the creation of artificial lifeforms, in a key first step towards the eventual goal of creating true artificial life.

The robot, which was developed by scientists at the University of Glasgow, was able to model the creation of artificial lifeforms using unstable oil-in-water droplets. These droplets effectively played the role of living cells, demonstrating the potential of future research to develop living cells based on building blocks that cannot be found in nature.

Significantly, the robot also successfully predicted their properties before they were created, even though this could not be achieved using conventional physical models.

The robot, which was designed by Glasgow University’s Regius Chair of Chemistry, Professor Lee Cronin, is driven by machine learning and the principles of evolution.

It has been developed to autonomously create oil-in-water droplets with a host of different chemical makeups and then use image recognition to assess their behaviour.

Using this information, the robot was able to engineer droplets to have different properties­. Those which were found to be desirable could then be recreated at any time, using a specific digital code.

“This work is exciting as it shows that we are able to use machine learning and a novel robotic platform to understand the system in ways that cannot be done using conventional laboratory methods, including the discovery of ‘swarm’ like group behaviour of the droplets, akin to flocking birds,” said Cronin.

“Achieving lifelike behaviours such as this are important in our mission to make new lifeforms, and these droplets may be considered ‘protocells’ – simplified models of living cells.”

One of the oil droplets created by the robot

The research, which is published today in the journal PNAS, is one of several research projects being undertaken by Cronin and his team within the field of artificial lifeforms.

While the overarching goal is moving towards the creation of lifeforms using new and unprecedented building blocks, the research may also have more immediate potential applications.

The team believes that their work could also have applications in several practical areas, including the development of new methods for drug delivery or even innovative materials with functional properties.

Mac spyware stole millions of user images

A criminal case brought against a man from Ohio, US has shed more light on a piece of Mac malware, dubbed Fruitfly, that was used to surreptitiously turn on cameras and microphones, take and download screenshots, log keystrokes, and steal tax and medical records, photographs, internet searches, and bank transactions from users.

Source: Ars Technica

Drone swarm attack strikes Russian military bases

Russia's Ministry of Defence claims its forces in Syria were attacked a week ago by a swarm of home-made drones. According to Russia's MoD Russian forces at the Khmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility "successfully warded off a terrorist attack with massive application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)"

Source: Science Alert

Las Vegas strip club employs robot strippers

A Las Vegas strip club has flown in robot strippers from London to 'perform' at the club during CES. Sapphire Las Vegas strip club managing partner Peter Feinstein said that he employed the robots because the demographics of CES have changed and the traditional female strippers aren’t enough to lure a crowd to the club anymore.

Source: Daily Beast

GM to make driverless cars without steering wheels or pedals by 2019

General Motors has announced it plans to mass-produce self-driving cars without traditional controls like steering wheels and pedals by 2019. “It’s a pretty exciting moment in the history of the path to wide scale [autonomous vehicle] deployment and having the first production car with no driver controls,” GM President Dan Ammann told The Verge.

Source: The Verge

Russia-linked hackers "Fancy Bears" target the IOC

Following Russia's ban from the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, the Russia-linked hacking group "Fancy Bears" has published a set of apparently stolen emails, which purportedly belong to officials from the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, and third-party groups associated with the organisations.

Source: Wired

Scientists discover ice cliffs on Mars

Using images provided by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists have described how steep cliffs, up to 100 meters tall, made of what appears to be nearly pure ice indicate that large deposits of ice may also be located in nearby underground deposits. The discovery has been described as “very exciting” for potential human bases.

Source: Science Mag