Hykso Punch Trackers Review: Boxing Meets Wearable Technology

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Hykso Punch Trackers -- Boxing Meets Wearable Technology

Last year, we took a look at an early version of Hykso’s Punch Trackers. Just in case you missed our initial coverage, Hykso’s wearable devices are meant to be worn under the wraps or wrist tape of boxers, martial artists, or anyone else that trains in combat sports – whether professionally or for fitness – and are designed to track a variety of punch types. On some levels, you can think of Hykso’s Punch Trackers like a "FitBit for combat sports," but the data provided by the devices and their associated mobile app is laser-focused and specialized.

The early version of the trackers we looked at was never meant for public consumption. However, the company was readying a sleeker, more durable, and easier to use version at the time, and interest was so high that the first run of product actually sold-out during the pre-order phase. Unfortunately, that initial shipment hit a few snags and the trackers didn’t ship when originally intended. Since then, Hykso completed the final version of its updated trackers and shipped them to its first customers.

We got our hands on a set as well and have all of the details for you here. Take a look and see if the product was worth the wait...
Hykso Punch Trackers
Specifications & Features
Electronic Components
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • 3-axis Gyroscope
  • Multi-color LED
Radio transceiver
  • Bluetooth Low Energy
Battery and Power
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Battery type: Lithium-polymer
  • Charging time: One hour
Compatibility
  • Android, iOS

The data provided by fitness wearables like the Fitbit and Microsoft Band can be helpful and motivating, but they don’t tell you much of anything over and above heart-rate and perhaps the trail you’ve followed though a run or while biking. If you’re into boxing or other combat sports, getting more focused data is necessary for analyzing your performance and ultimately improving, which is why Hykso created its trackers in the first place.

Hykso’s Punch Trackers can monitor actual punch output, in real time, and can discern the difference between jabs and power punches (crosses / hooks / uppercuts). As a result, users can track workouts or sparring sessions, monitor intensity and speed, and compare and contrast the data with others or with previous sessions. This may sound like something reserved for elite boxers, but the Hykso Punch Trackers are designed for both professionals and amateur fitness buffs alike. I can assure you, I am no professional, but the data provided by the trackers is useful and interesting, especially for the Cardio Boxing crowd, nonetheless.

hykso trackers 4
The Hykso Punch Trackers Should Be Places Under Your Wraps Or Tape...

The original Hykso Punch Trackers we looked at featured some 3D printed parts and were linked together using an off-the-shelf WiFi router. They also only worked with iOS at the time. The retail-ready version, however, is more refined and easier to use. They are smaller, more durable and moisture resistant, no longer require WiFi and instead connect via Bluetooth, and the associated app is available for both iOS and Android. The app has gone through multiple revisions and received cosmetic and feature updates as well.

Included in the $189 kit is a pair of punch trackers and a USB charging station / dock with a short extension cable. The entire assembly is no more than a couple of inches wide and is very lightweight. The trackers have a black rubberized top, with a textured composite base. The trackers look good, but we wish that rubberized coating was used throughout. The composite base is smooth and can be slippery when trying to secure the trackers under wraps. The charger has a similar look and uses the same red material, but the black top is not rubberized. The precise dimensions of the trackers and charger is outlined in the figures below.
tracker dimensions
The way the Hykso Punch Tracking Sensors work is fairly straightforward. Inside each of the wearable sensors in an F1 grade 3-axis accelerometer, a Low-g 3-axis accelerometer, and a 3-axis Gyroscope. When secured to your wrist, ideally under wraps or tape, and oriented in the proper direction (curved-edge facing forward), the sensors can track all kinds of data as your arms move. The sensors also feature a multi-color LED to indicate battery levels and to identify which hand each sensor should be mounted, though this can be switched on the fly in the mobile app if they're already under your wraps and mounted on the wrong hands.
charger dimensions
The sensors connect to a mobile device using Bluetooth. Pairing them is straightforward, but is likely somewhat different than anything you’ve probably used before. There are no buttons on the trackers. So, to pair them, you actually need to give them a couple of firm taps. After doing so, the on-board LED will start to blink, and when you start a session, the app will initiate a search, discover the trackers, and pair them to the mobile device. The LEDs on top change color (to red and blue) when properly paired. We found the pairing process to be reliable, but you definitely need to be firm with the taps to wake the sensors up -- it's actually easier to put them under your wraps and bang your wrists together a couple of times.

Using the Hykso Punch Trackers requires some basic setup before a session. Once they’re secured in place, wake them up (with a double-tap), launch the Hykso app on the mobile device, complete the pairing process, and then select your preferred workout type. You can choose to quick start a session and start punching right away or program individual drills in advanced mode to fit your needs. The number of rounds, length of each round, and rest periods can all be configured in advanced mode.

hykso trackers 3

The app will display real-time information gathered from the sensors including punch speed, punch counts, the striking intensity, and punch types (straight punches, and power punches, for each hand). The precise time of the punches in milliseconds is also logged, so there's a possibility combination punches and pacing may be enabled at some point, but that data isn’t exposed in the app currently.

Hykso Punch Tracking Sensors typically take about an hour to charge and offer roughly 10-hours of battery life. You can easily power through multiple workout sessions between charges.

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