Device makers are increasingly looking for ways to move the health tracking market forward, and a new patent filing from device maker Jawbone offers a clue to what might come next. Jawbone had a patent application published by the USPTO recently that describes a method for measuring body fat percentage with existing devices, including smartphones and tablets, or a wristband like the UP24, using the sensors said hardware already carries on board.
The patent describes how the system would use things like the display, accelerometer, gyroscopes, microphones, GPS and more to tell the user how best to place the device to measure body fat percentage. It would do this by broadcasting an “impulse” using onboard vibration motors and measuring the response that comes back; put simply, the phone, tablet or other gadget would jiggle your fat and measure the frequency of the jiggles to provide you with an estimate of body fat percentage.
Jawbone’s patent would work in tandem with an app on the device, which could make up part of a comprehensive health tracking app or one made specifically for the purpose of body fat percentage measurement. This would represent a new measure tracked by devices – traditional ways of calculating body fat for mobile health monitoring platforms involves use of a dedicated external device, like the Withings Smart Body Analyzer digital scale, for instance.
The patent is credited to Aza Raskin, the founder of Massive Health, a company Jawbone acquired in 2013 with an eye to bringing on its design-focused talent.