OEM/ODM specialist Dayton Industrial is set to commence volume production of a low energy Bluetooth 4.0 heart-rate chest belt using Nordic Semiconductor's new µBlue™ nRF8001 chip.

That might not seem all that ground breaking at first glance, but it's a significant event likely to kickstart a whole new genre of health and fitness related smartphone apps which use the wireless heart-rate (HR) belt to monitor, display and analyse heart rate data. Indeed, I can see a whole new and exciting range of training apps which use social networking to support and share one's progress.

The heartrate belt will turn any Bluetooth 4.0 smartphone into a heart monitor and it is so energy-efficient that it will run for over 500 hours of usage (that's 18 months of one-hour-a-day usage) on a CR2032 coin cell.

The new chip is not just energy efficient, but very compact, enabling the creation of an extremely slim (1.1cm-thick) and small (3.8 x 6.5 cm) plastic sensor housing. The entire belt weighs just 46g.