Body Monitoring Gets Shot in the ArmJuly 7, 2011
The BodyMedia FIT armband incorporates skin-response sensors, body temperature sensors, a three-axis accelerometer, and wireless communications hardware to provide real-time data on the body.
As she and her husband drive to a local line-dance club, Angie checks her wireless wristband monitor to find that she has expended 1915 calories so far today. She has consumed 1629, a total of 286 fewer calories into her body than out. As she dances, her body heats up. On the back of her armband, a pair of galvanic skin-response sensors detects changes in the electrical conductivity of her skin as perspiration accumulates and evaporates. Another pair of sensors measures her body temperature and compares it to that of the outside air to calculate the rate at which she is generating heat. A three-axis accelerometer measures her movements, forward- backward, and side-to-side. Data from her body is sampled at a rate of 17,000 data points per minute. While dancing her armband collects over 5 million data points, processes them with its algorithm, converts them into calories, stores the data in memory, and sends it to her wristband for instant viewing.
Although the BodyMedia system is designed for use by general consumers, it has been featured in more than 100 peer-reviewed journals and validated in 19 clinical studies, with an average accuracy of 90% compared with clinical methods. But unlike clinical methods, Angie's armband gives her instantaneous data as she goes about her day. What is more, "it is the only device of its kind registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a Class II medical device."
When she gets home, Angie syncs her BodyMedia FIT Armband to the BodyMedia Web site and uploads her food for the evening. Tonight she has burned 1915 calories in 5410 steps. One week later, she's 128 pounds, a 100 lb. weight loss in just over 16 months.
Since 1999, BodyMedia has pioneered the development of wearable body monitoring systems, designed to help people lose weight, improve performance, and lead healthier lives.
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