High-Tech Dog Tag for Runners is e-Wallet, Too

Athletes no longer need to lug around a wallet full of cards and money while they exercise thanks to a new hi-tech wristband.

Similar to a dog tag or medical bracelet, this new wristband displays an ID number that links to an online database of the wearer’s medical information. Called VITAband, the bracelet is also embedded with a pre-paid “card” that lets runners, cyclists and other fitness enthusiasts make purchases on the go.

Co-developers Jason Brown and David Waxman don’t have a firm date for the commercial release of the product but hope it will be late summer or early fall of this year.

Personal connection

Brown came up with the initial idea for the hi-tech ID bracelet while out for a morning run three years ago. While long, early morning runs are normal for Brown, this one was out of the ordinary in that he was in an unfamiliar place without someone knowing where he was.

“I was probably four or five miles into the run on some twisting roads with blind corners and nearly got clipped by a car,” Brown told TechNewsDaily.

“I would have been out in the middle of nowhere with nobody knowing where I was and potentially pretty badly hurt."

The VITAband was designed with this in mind and it also has the added benefit of being able to make purchases without “shoving dollar bills in your socks or pockets,” Brown said.

ID technology

The medical-profile piece of the new wristband includes a unique ID number, which the developers call a VITAnumber. This number links to a database with a pre-loaded medical profile – your name, emergency contact, ailments, allergies, medications, doctors names, and, if you want, your insurance company.

“It would have been really cool to store the information locally on the bracelet but paramedics and hospitals don’t have a standard format for extracting that information,” Waxman said. There are also security issues, he added.

The purchase-on-the-go piece of the wristband relies on an embedded RFID-chip that links to a specially setup account preloaded with up to $200. To make a purchase, the wearer needs to hold the bracelet within one to two inches of a terminal that accepts this type of payment. (Banking and network partners are handling this end of the product.)

The bracelet will initially sell online before hitting retail stores. After that, the co-developers are exploring form factors other than a bracelet for their technology.

Michelle Bryner
Michelle writes about technology and chemistry for Live Science. She has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the Salisbury University, a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a degree in Science Journalism from New York University. She is an active Muay Thai kickboxer at Five Points Academy and loves exploring NYC with friends.