In terms of your weight, Withings claims the body scan is accurate to within 0.1 pounds (50 grams) or twice the previous model, but that’s just the start of showing off your body makeup. Multifrequency Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) is used to measure whole body fat percentage, water percentage, visceral fat, muscle and bone mass, and extracellular and intracellular water. It can also provide readings for individual body parts, including the torso, arms, and legs. All of this allows you to discover things that health experts and sports professionals use like dangerous topical fats or muscle imbalances, Withings said.
Working with a French company called Impeto Medical, Withings has also developed a feature for assessing nerve activity. It can track sweat gland activity in the feet (motor function) using a small direct current through the electrodes in the pad. Impaired functions in this regard can show signs of deterioration of small nerve fibers, which can be corrected with regular activity and a healthy diet.
“It’s a beneficial function, because there are a lot of chronic health issues like obesity that are associated with poor nerve function,” Litumbi told me. “Impeto has created devices used by neurologists and other doctors that can cost upwards of €10,000, and the body scan is a consumer product that does it again every time you weigh yourself.” At the same time, Withings will be able to collect nerve activity data from millions of users that could be useful for medical research and patient care.
Besides volume, Withings also (yes) offers a subscription service, with a price that has yet to be announced. It will “allow users to contact medical professionals for advice and counseling while providing clinical teams with real-time data,” Withings said. It will also offer personalized health plans, videos, and more topics covering such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, and stress management to help users achieve their health goals.
With the body scan, Withings will offer consumers one of the most advanced home medical, sports and health devices – at a price. It’s expected to cost $300 when it arrives in the US and Europe in the second half of 2022 following FDA clearance, or $100 more than the launch price of the Body Scan. This will include three free months of subscription service, but it’s still a big part of the change at scale.
Much will depend on whether it delivers all promised features with reasonable accuracy and whether it receives FDA clearance in a timely manner. That’s not necessarily a given, as it took Withings over a year to get its ScanWatch approved by the FDA after it was first released. The company has also had issues with its Pulse Wave Velocity (PVW) heart health feature, and has withdrawn that in some areas due to regulatory concerns.
Given all of that, it’s somewhat audacious on the part of Withings to offer a scale with more advanced medical and health functions. “We believe this is how we can improve user health, not by requiring extra effort, but by providing more targeted information about a product they use every day,” Letombe said.
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