HealBe has claimed to crack the holy grail of calorie counting with its GoBe wristband device. Take a look at the claims and conclusions in this case:

Let's take a deep dive into GoBe’s technology.

What is it supposed to do?

Gobe has three sensors: an impedance sensor to measure calories, an accelerometer to measure physical activity, and a pressure sensor to measure heart rate. GoBe’s principle for calorie counting is based on a phenomenon called bio-impedance. Bio-impedance is the resistance caused by blood or tissue to the electrical current flowing through it. Variations in glucose concentrations after a meal change the electric properties of blood. In principle, it is possible to correlate changes in impedance of the blood with changes in blood glucose concentrations. But is it possible to do this without directly sampling the blood?

GoBe’s "ground breaking" technology

Noninvasive blood glucose measurements based on bio-impedance has always been a holy grail for researchers. Prediction of glucose concentration of blood kept in a test tube works well, but it faces several challenges when used in human body. Pendra® from Pendragon Medical Ltd., Switzerland was a wristwatch glucose monitor developed based on impedance technology. The device did not perform well in market due to variations in the readings in different individuals. About 30% of the patients have to discontinue the use of device after calibration as their skin types and basic skin impedance are unsuitable for the device. Moreover, the error rates were too high to be considered reliable. The production of Pendra was stopped as the company went bankrupt in 2005.

GoBe takes this technology even further. HealBe claims that GoBe’s technology is based on an algorithm that can calculate total calories from protein and fat from the glucose concentrations, and, furthermore, claims 90% accuracy. The claims are backed by a patent filed in Russia. However, Healbe repeatedly states that GoBe device should not be used as a medical device.

Healbe raised more than a million dollars in their Indiegogo crowd funding campaign. Tellspec, another device that claimed to measure calories in the food you eat, failed to ship the device to its backers after raising over $400,000 on Indiegogo. Silencing its critics, HealBe did deliver. The GoBe device is available in Amazon for $300.

HealBe raised a million crowd funded dollars to build its GoBe device

Healbe raised more than a million dollars in their Indiegogo crowd funding campaign. Tellspec, another device that claimed to measure calories in the food you eat, failed to ship the device to its backers after raising over $400,000 on Indiegogo. Silencing its critics, HealBe did deliver. The GoBe device is available in Amazon for $300.

If the device works, it will be a turning point in the fitness as well as the medical world.

Sindhu Rajan, Ph.D

 

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