A treasure trove of new health devices unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show promise to make us healthier by more accurately measuring what makes people thin and athletic. Calorie counting, for instance, can be a terribly misleading way to lose weight, since research shows what and how we eat can affect our love handles more so than the total calories consumed. But such brute-force measures persist because, prior to the consumer health sensor industry, we had very few ways of monitoring our internal wellness.
In other words, what we can measure will become the new means of self improvement. Below is a roundup of the new gadgets launched at CES and how they’ll redefine what we watch.
Speed Eating – HAPIfork – Many of us meticulously avoid Snickers, yet slam down our salads during the busy workday. Unfortunately, rapidly eating healthy foods can have a similarly poor effect as can eating sugary foods. Speed eating also leads to overeating, since satiety doesn’t register till long after the body no longer thinks it needs to feed. The HAPIfork aims to end the cultural habit of shoveling food into our mouths with a fork that vibrates when users eat too quickly. Check out Stephen Colbert giving a “wag of my finger” to the HAPIfork below:
Air Pollution – Withings Scale: polluted air might not only be killing you quickly, but sending you to an extra-wide coffin, as research has implicated air toxins in obesity. The new Withings scale, which measures weight and fat percentage, added a new feature to measure carbon dioxide, an important proxy for airborne poisons, and can affect sleep, breathing difficulty, and heart rate. Check out our own Darrell Etherington’s review below:
It’s difficult to describe just how misleading calorie counting can be. Last year, I hacked my diet to transform an extra 1,500 calories a day of ice cream and cheesecake to lose fat and gain muscle. While it may not have been the healthiest way to disprove the calorie-fat link, it’s clear, at least for me, that the types of food I eat and how I measure my wellness are much more effective ways of controlling my body composition.
Blood Saturation – Masimo iSpO2 – Olympic athletes train in the mountains because high-altitude training transforms our bodies to more efficiently utilize oxygen when athletes return to lower altitudes. Some readers may have experienced this effect in reverse, feeling lethargic after flying from a sea-level state to one of elevated altitude. The Masimo iSpO2 is a consumer-friendly pulse oximeter that measures the blood oxygen saturation of blood through a fingertip clamp. Athletes could utilize the iSpO2 to measure how their oxygen saturation is influencing their training and make corrective steps, such as high-altitude training, or more experimental steps, such as non-mouth breathing or oxygen masks (masks were found not to have much of an effect in one trial).
Body Temperature – Spree: Warming up your muscles is an important part of working out, but how do you know you’ve actually reached the right temperature? Or, if you’re running on a hot summer day, how do you know if you’re about to overheat? The Spree headband measures internal temperature for safe and efficient exercising.
Heart Rate – Mio Alpha: Runners are fond of measuring their heart rates for peak performance, but some of the most popular devices, such as the Garmin Polar, require a chest strap. Kickstarter-funded Mio Alpha is a heart-rate monitor without the cumbersome strap.
So, go forth my number-crunching uber readers. Measure your way to a thinner, more athletic body.