As countries around the world grapple with the seemingly perpetual rise in healthcare costs, there is a growing shift towards prevention rather than cure.
This long-overdue shift is founded on the fact that many of the health issues prevalent in western society are if not self-inflicted, certainly things we can do something about through healthier living.
Top of the target list is obesity, which is both a growing problem but also a well-understood trigger for a number of diseases. The problem is that existing instruments are rather blunt. The Body Mass Index, for instance, is a poor indicator of the health of a person, with little account taken of ones fat or muscle levels during measurement.
Indeed, studies have suggested that weight is much less important than our overall body fat percentages, with this proving a more reliable indicator of our overall health than weight.
There are a number of digital scales that attempt to provide this kind of body composition readings, but there is a wide level of variability in the readings they provide users.
They do remain popular, however, which makes a new ‘smart mirror’ particularly interesting. The product, which is provocatively called Naked, scans the users body as they stand in front of it.
The mirror consists of three core components:
- a mirror that comes with infrared sensors
- a set of rotating scales
- the ubiquitous smartphone app
The user stands on the scales in front of the mirror, which produces a 3D scan of their body as they rotate on the scales. The information about their body composition, including weight and fat levels, are then sent to the smartphone app, where they can see all sorts of stats on themselves, including an infographic and even a 3D rendering of their physique. It can even provide a heatmap that shows how their body composition changes as they exercise.
The product is due for release in 2017, and can be pre-ordered by $499. Whilst it’s certainly a clever technology, it does obviously rely on its accuracy to move beyond a gimmick.
Might it catch on? Time will tell.