Thursday, 13 March 2014

"Reading the glucose in your cells?" Just more health monitoring snakeoil

It seems the big push in wearables is measuring body metrics through the skin.

The Basis B1 watch was the first watch to claim to measure heart rate in this way, although plenty of others also now claim this, and it seems that Apple and Google are engaged in more advanced schemes for their rumoured smartwatches.

Similarly, there have been tech demos that can pick up your pulse rate by measuring the slightly reddening of your skin through a webcam as your heart pumps blood.

Still I remain very skeptical about the latest Indiegogo funding project, which claims to be able to automatically measure calorie intake through your skin.

Healbe has already raised $533,096 (over the $100,000 target with 33 days to go) for its GoBe wearable, so people are obviously keen on the technology.

If you want to fund it, the best current deal is a $189 price point against at $300 RRP.

As for how it works, Healbe claims its "continuous piezo pressure sensor" can handle heart rate, while the accelerometer will calculate calorie burn and metabolic rate.

In terms of measuring calorie input, it says it combines "a unique algorithm with measurements from the body manager's pressure, accelerometer, and impedance sensors to show you calories consumed".

In other words, it guesses - just as my current $100 Fitbit Flex does.

Yet, elsewhere, it claims it measures your calorie intake - "by reading the glucose in your cells".

Absolute tosh.

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