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Wearable tech fitness trackers outpace other devices: What to look for

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In a race to finish first in the gadget world, wearable tech is posed to win. Shipments of high tech bands that monitor fitness have grown 700 percent in just one year, reported Entrepreneur on Feb. 14.

Independent analyst Canalys predicts that shipments of smart wearable bands could reach a total of 8 million in 2014, more than 23 million units by 2015, and over 45 million by 2017. Compare those numbers to the 200,000 smart wearable bands shipped in the first half of 2013, it's clear that these devices have "become a key consumer technology."

So what should fitness enthusiasts look for when it comes to the perfect device to monitor their marathons, race-walking events or spin class sessions? The high tech world is buzzing about:

The benefits: Fans of these products say that they boost their weight loss by encouraging them to move more and burn more calories.

Dr. Matthew Sims has lost 55 pounds since June, and he told Fox News in a recent interview that he owes his weight loss to Fitbit. It's motivated him to stay on track to meet his goals, and even compete with others.

"You can see your ups and downs. You can see it compared to other people. It shows you your burned calories," Sims says.

Where to find: Check sports stores or online, where we found both the Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker (click for details) and the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker.

And what of the future? Apple iWatch rumors are ticking around the fitness world, reported Tech Crunch on Feb. 14. And while Google reportedly is contemplating strapping itself into the wearable band field, Jawbone, maker of the UP fitness tracker bangle, also is adding to its market mileage.

And then there's the cool factor, in the form of smartphone-controlled attire that strutted across the runway at New York Fashion Week, according to the International Business Times on Feb. 14.

Ready-to-wear LED light-up skirts, blazers and evening dresses by CuteCircuit take wearable tech to a new level, making "things that weren't science fiction" but have the potential to go beyond anything the Jetsons ever imagined.

Will we someday wear exercise attire that whispers "You need to run faster; you've only run one mile" in our ears?