Nike+ Fuel Lab pushes fitness wearables as a platform

Nike doesn't just have a new Nike+ FuelBand SE today, it also has launched the Fuel Lab, designed to boost use of the fitness wearable's APIs. The scheme will see Nike pick ten partner companies and set them up in a San Francisco workspace with a $50,000 budget apiece, with the goal being a launch of the NikeFuel-integration by the end of the program in June 2014.

"We believe that NikeFuel is a single, universal way to measure all kinds of activities—from your morning workout to your big night out" Nike says of the scheme. "Uniquely designed to measure whole-body movement no matter your age, weight or gender, NikeFuel tracks your active life."

Currently, NikeFuel is predominantly known as the unit of measurement on the FuelBand, Nike's wearable fitness tracker, though it's also supported on the Nike+ SportWatch and in the Nike+ Running App. Launched in early 2012, the wristband tracks movement and converts steps, dancing, running, jumping, and other activities into a single unit.

For Fuel Lab participants, the goal is to use the FuelBand API and SDK in new and interesting ways; Nike suggests that could be anything from "training, coaching and gaming content to social, analytics and complementary services."

As well as the funding and a place to work, those taking part will get advice on branding, design, product development, and more, as well as the chance to talk with those companies who have already built on top of the API/SDK. Nike will be running through the code that's created to make sure it works, though the company says that it won't be demanding that companies only release their eventual products on Nike+ alone. "This is the Nike+ Fuel Lab, so, the ultimate goal here is to support businesses that leverage NikeFuel and Nike+" the company points out. "That does not preclude the solution from being available on other platforms as a complement to Nike+"

Meanwhile, Nike gets a 3-percent stake in each company picked. However any IP created by the participants during the program is theirs to keep.

Nike has thrown open the doors to the Fuel Lab program for applications, which need to be in before January 20. Selected participants will be notified they have a spot by February 10, and then the program itself begins on March 3.