You know that extreme paranoia you have about dropping your favorite gadget down the toilet? Withings wants you to forget all that for its latest health monitoring device, the U-Scan, which is not only specifically designed for use on the toilet, but for urination as well. stay with us; It’s not as gross as it sounds.
There is a limit to the health information that can be collected by strapping a smartwatch to the wrist, attaching a pulse oximeter to the finger, or placing an inflatable blood pressure cuff around the upper arm. That’s why doctors often order blood samples to be taken or ask patients to urinate into a cup for detailed urinalysis in a laboratory before making a diagnosis.
At-home urine tests are not a new idea, but the information they provide is often limited. Pharmacies sell strips that can be used to test for urinary tract infections, while urine tests remain the cheapest and easiest way to confirm a pregnancy without going to a doctor. With the U-Scan, Withings is expanding the health information that can be obtained from urine without sending it to a lab, while also making the collection process fully automatic.
The hardware is reminiscent of Google’s Chromecast dongle, but instead of plugging it into a TV’s HDMI port, you hang it at the front of your toilet bowl, where you then deliberately urinate on it. The smooth, pebble-shaped design of the U-Scan channels urine along its surface to a collection inlet at the bottom, where a thermal sensor detects the presence of the liquid and activates a pump, which draws the sample in. and through a “microfluidic circuit”. .” As a user urinates, a “low-energy radar sensor built into the device” can also recognize and distinguish between multiple users by detecting their “unique urine stream signature” through a feature Withings calls Stream ID.
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Inside the U-Scan is a replaceable cartridge, good for about three months, filled with dozens of test capsules into which urine is injected. Chemical reactions then occur when one or more biomarkers are detected, producing specific colors that are analyzed by an optical sensor. After the test is complete, any remaining fluids are pumped out of the U-Scan and returned to the toilet. The device itself is cleaned during each discharge, although you may want to put on a pair of gloves when changing cartridges or charging it, which you’ll need to do every three months.
U-Scan test results are shared via Wi-Fi with Withings’ private servers and made available through the company’s mobile apps, allowing results and personal health data to be tracked for each individual. user over time. There is no timetable for when U-Scan will be available in the United States; Withings is still developing it for the US market and will require FDA approval first, but the starter kit will go on sale in Europe next year for €499.95 (about US$530) and will include one of two different cartridges. three months, with the option to purchase more through a subscription or standalone plan.
The U-Scan Nutri Balance cartridge and app will provide information on the user’s pH, vitamin C, carbohydrate balance and ketone levels to help “manage their metabolic intake to optimize their daily hydration and nutrients” and recommend ” exercises, dietary suggestions and recipes to achieve the identified goals”.
Instead, the U-Scan Nutri Balance cartridge and app are specifically designed for “cycle tracking, training and journaling” and provide information on “hormone-based ovulation window and cycle predictions along with key hydration biomarkers.” and diet”. The user can also document other symptoms that the U-Scan cannot detect, including menstrual flow, mood, food and water intake, and cervical fluids. The hope is that together, the U-Scan and journaling will provide more accurate predictions and information about a user cycle than apps that rely solely on journaling and self-collected data.
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