The Tao Wellshell is billed as a gym in your pocket. You squeeze it with your hands or other parts of your body to burn calories; it can also track your steps, sleep, and heart rate.
If you often find yourself clenching things when you get frustrated, a new fitness gadget could turn your penchant for squeezing into better health and maybe even a few lost pounds.
The Tao Wellshell may be ideal for couch potatoes because you can use it anywhere -- from sitting in traffic to riding on a plane -- and you don't have to move much to reap the benefits, according to Nevada-based developer Tao Wellness.
The gadget is based on ancient principles of isometrics, the science of applying pressure to build strength that's also seen in yoga and Pilates workouts.
You squeeze the Wellshell with your palms or any other part of your body, such as between your knees. While doing so, it can act as a controller for video games such as a skier negotiating a downhill course.
Meanwhile, the unit can also be used as an activity tracker to monitor your heart rate, sleep duration and quality, steps walked and distance travelled.
The 150-gram Wellshell is packed with a pressure sensor, three-axis accelerometer, optoelectronic heart rate sensor, GPS tracker and a gyroscope. It's also got Bluetooth connectivity to link to the associated smartphone gaming and tracking app, which also features 3-D illustrations of how and where the device should be squeezed.
The shell itself has LED displays and is operated by tilting, tapping and pressing as it has no buttons.
Its lithium-ion battery can last for three hours during active use when the shell is being squeezed, or up to 16 hours during pedometer or tracking mode. It charges through micro-USB cable.
The device is described by the company as a "gym in your pocket," as it lets people work out wherever they happen to be when they have a few spare moments. It can be used without a phone and programmed with exercises and it will record how many calories were burned.
The company wouldn't say when the Wellshell will launch, but a company source indicated the device may be priced between US$200 and $300.