Consumer electronics company Withings has launched two new high-tech scales that sync with an app and offer information ranging from the day's weather to your weight and heart rate. One of them is a seeming game changer that measures your heartbeat variations – a recognized indicator of heart health.
The $179 device, called Body Cardio, measures pulse wave velocity, produced by the heating of one’s heart and can correlate with high blood pressure. This measurement can only normally be done in a clinical setting, according to Withings.
“Body Cardio redefines how people use connected scales,” said Cedric Hutchings, digital health VP at Nokia Technologies. “It is like getting information from your annual physical every day.”
Nokia just recently acquired Withings for $191 million, putting the French health and wearables company in charge of its digital health business.
Body Cardio is said to offer its users a “holistic” look into their health via measurements of weight, body mass index (BMI), body composition, standing heart rate and pulse wave velocity (PWV), which has been linked not only with hypertension but also cardiovascular risk.
PWV is the speed at which heartbeat vibrations spread out along one’s arterial wall. The stiffer the arteries, the more quickly blood moves through one’s body – and a low PWV indicates more flexible arteries as well as a lower blood pressure.
This means that the scale does not measure one’s blood pressure per se – but better gauges heart health, according to co-founder Eric Carreel.
"This blood velocity measurement normally requires an expensive device (called a sphygmometer) that only cardiologists usually have, and now it's available to anyone as a household device,” he told Endgadget.
Body Cardio works in tandem with its app Health Mate to interpret the measurements of one's PWV over time, and show whether it is normal, optimal, or at risk.
Withings, too, will anonymously collect health data from users who gave consent, aiming to refine its data analysis. The information will be shared with researchers and hospitals to see the influence of PWV on cardiovascular risks on a bigger picture.
If you are wondering how the device looks, it’s 0.7-inch thick and boasts of a flat aluminum base, footless design, and tempered glass. Its built-in battery is rechargeable and can last up to one year in total.
The device, part of the company’s fourth-generation wireless scales, is sold exclusively at Apple Stores and Withings.com. Withings’s other new smart scale, Body, is available at $129.95 and sold at different retailers.