Monitoring progress is absolutely essential to achieving weight loss and to successfully maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The difficulty lies in selecting which information to log and just what to make of it all. Enter BodyMedia FIT. Body monitoring system developer BodyMedia has created an armband that dually monitors physical and physiological activity (and inactivity) to paint a full picture of how much progress a user is making and where improvements can be made. The device has received considerable accolade from Time, Wired, the New York Times due to its spread of data tracking metrics and app-driven customization options. BodyMedia CEO Christine Robins recently answered some of our questions and spoke on her company, its innovative tracking metrics, and its plans for the future.
Q: Please describe BodyMedia and its offerings.
A: BodyMedia is the pioneer in developing and marketing wearable body monitors that equip people with info to make changes to their own health and wellness. The BodyMedia platform is the only system of its kind that is registered with the FDA as a Class II medical device and that has been clinically proven to enhance users’ weight loss by up to three times. BodyMedia has developed an innovative and wearable weight loss and activity monitoring system – BodyMedia FIT. The Armbands measure motion, heat flux, skin temperature and galvanic skin response to track calorie burn, physical activity, steps taken, sleep duration, and sleep efficiency. Users incorporate the use of the online tool where the use logs food intake allowing them to see daily caloric intake, daily caloric expenditure, calorie balance and more.
BodyMedia has two Armbands: The CORE Armband, a third smaller in overall volume than its predecessors, provides the same results, in a sleeker package. Stats can be viewed on the optional Displace device, which can be worn as a wristband or clipped to a pocket to provide updates throughout the day. Using the USB port to plug into the computer provides a full spectrum of results via the online Dashboard as well.
The LINK Armband is enabled with Bluetooth wireless technology to send real time results straight to the BodyMedia FIT App for mobile devices. BodyMedia FIT Mobile Apps are also available for food logging and updates when using the CORE Armband. All of the tools provide personalized weight- management system that collects data day and night.
Q: How do the BodyMedia FIT Armband’s four sensors create an accurate projection of calorie burn and fitness progress?
The BodyMedia FIT Armbands are comprised of four sensors, a microprocessor, storage chip, USB port and radio transmitter and they all work together to detect three fundamental body signals. They sense heat, sweat and motion. Heat is sensed by a pair of thermistors, as the temperature at the skin surface and in the air just beneath the Armband cover a short distance away: Sweat is sensed by to galvanic skin response sensors as electrical conductivity of the skin and; Motion is sensed by a three-axis accelerometer as body movement in three directions. Inside the Armband’s microprocessor the data received from each sensor are transduced to digital bits which are compiled, compared and correlated within the BodyMedia algorithm and sent to the onboard storage chip once a minute. The correlated heat, sweat, and motion data sets serve as a digital fingerprint of calories burned.
Q: How does quality of sleep impact weight loss? How does BodyMedia monitor users’ sleep patterns?
A: The body produces hormone Leptin, produced in fat cells, signals to your body you’re full, causing the “satisfied” feeling you experience after a meal. It also produces Ghrelin, produced in the stomach and pancreas, does the opposite. It signals to your brain it’s time to eat. Your body regulates these hormones while you sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re left with high levels of Ghrelin, telling your brain you’re hungry, and low levels of Leptin, leaving you feeling unsatisfied, even after a meal. Adequate sleep helps your body maintain proper levels of these hormones.
The BodyMedia FIT activity and sleep monitor automatically captures over 5,000 readings every minute including calories burned, activity intensity levels and sleep quality and quantity to give you a complete overview of the key factors impacting weight loss. Once you understand where your sleep and activity levels are deficient, you can make adjustments to improve them. Helping you achieve realistic and healthy weight loss is BodyMedia FIT’s goal.
Q: How does the cross platform integration of BodyMedia’s range of offerings affect users’ experience in achieving weight loss and healthy life style goals?
The BodyMedia FIT system works by itself or by being incorporated into another fitness/weight loss/behavior modification program (24 hr, Jenny Craig, Jillian Michaels). Clinical studies have shown that the BodyMedia system actually enhances the weight loss of other programs and the constant, regular feedback enhances the retention rate of their members.
Q: Users are not strictly limited to wearing the BodyMedia FIT Armband to enjoy the company’s offerings. There are also apps available for Android, iPhone, and PanasonicViera Connect. Do these apps offer the same type of data analysis and the same immersive experience?
A: BodyMedia FIT Armbands work in conjunction with the online software and apps – the app and software cannot be used on their own and the Armband cannot be used without the software output. BodyMedia FIT lets you take fitness body-monitoring wherever you want to go with mobile apps. Using BodyMedia FIT’s free mobile apps, users of the CORE and Advantage Armbands can log food on the go and view snapshots of their most recent Activity Manager Dashboard. Users of the LINK* Armband, our Bluetooth®-powered Armband, can view their Dashboard with real-time caloric burn and activity data and can create personalized workouts based upon caloric, activity or step goals. And the LINK apps power you through your workout with tunes from your phone.
Q: Can you share BodyMedia’s plans for the rest of 2012?
A: The patch solution, expected to launch in 2012, will utilize similar sensor technology developed for BodyMedia armband-based body monitoring systems that have been successfully used for weight loss support since 2001. The smaller form factor, shorter-term use and significantly lower price point than the armband will make the patch useful to introduce prospective armband users to the value of continuous body monitoring for weight management, while also paving the way for new uses by consumers, wellness counselors and healthcare professionals.
The disposable patch solution will:
- Track key lifestyle indicators such as calorie burn, steps taken, activity levels and sleep patterns through multiple sensors that collect more than 5,000 data points per minute.
- Enable that data to be uploaded to a computer or mobile device for use as a guideline to determine the need for behavioral modification to promote weight loss and other wellness efforts.
- Be worn on the back of the left tricep, providing an inconspicuous solution similar to a large bandage with no wires required to transmit data.
- Remain in place for up to seven days even while showering and exercising through use of Avery Dennison Medical Solutions’ splash-proof adhesive chemistries and production technologies.
We are also launching a Bluetooth upload, with enhancements to feedback system including feedback the in mobile app.
More information about BodyMedia and their offerings can be found on BodyMedia.com