Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wearable Patch Will Count Calories Burned And Consumed

It could be a dieter's best friend or worst nightmare: technology that knows how much a person has just eaten, knows how many calories he has burned off, offers suggestions for improving resolve and success, and never lets him cheat. And it's all done by a small, stick-on monitor no bigger than a large Band-Aid.

The calorie monitor, which is being developed by biotech incubator PhiloMetron, uses a combination of sensors, electrodes, and accelerometers that--together with a unique algorithm--measure the number of calories eaten, the number of calories burned, and the net gain or loss over a 24-hour period. The patch sends this data via a Bluetooth wireless connection to a dieter's cell phone, where an application tracks the totals and provides support.

PhiloMetron won't yet reveal exactly what makes its patch tick, but the company says that it consists of a single chip surrounded by numerous sensors, electrodes, and accelerometers, embedded in a foam adhesive patch. The system, which is designed to be replaced once a week, measures a variety of things (temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, skin conductivity, possibly even the amount of fluid in the body), then throws the data into an algorithm to calculate the number of calories consumed, the number burned, and the net yield. Caloric-intake measurements are accurate only to about 500 calories--about two Snickers candy bars. But PhiloMetron CEO Darrel Drinan says that it is much more accurate in determining net gain or loss and is most useful for measuring trends over the course of a week or a month. In fact, the system only provides users with rolling 24-hour totals and no instantaneous data.
Cool concept. I am curious how it determines the number of calories eaten. The accuracy of plus or minus 500 calories doesn't seem too good, but hopefully that can be improved in future releases.

Now that smart phones with internet access are becoming commonplace, the next big wave in mobile devices will to interact with the body, or what I call "The Human APIs". This will be of benefit to those with chronic diseases such as diabetes but also healthy people that are looking for ways to improve their health, fitness and concentration even more.

via Technology Review via FuturePundit

1 comment:

Rebelfish said...

You're right about the high uncertainty. Considering all the nutrition information is "based on a 2,000 calorie diet," the accuracy is something like 25%.

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