Our favourite wearables and health tech from CES 2023
As CES 2023 comes to a close on January 8th, it is a good time to reflect on the health and fitness gadgets that were showcased at the event in Las Vegas since January 5th.
The 2021 CES, held entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is still fresh in our memory. This marked the first time in its over 50-year history that the event was held virtually. Fortunately, the situation has greatly improved since then.
Not yet back to the pre-COVID state
And, while CES did return to an in-person format last year, it was a rather low-key affair. This year, more businesses chose to attend. There are approximately 2,400 of them. Over 100,000 people are expected to visit the show by the time CES closes its doors on Sunday.
These numbers are undeniably amazing. However, they remain below the pre-COVID levels. Back then, the event would routinely draw over 4,500 exhibiting companies and 170,000 attendees. What’s encouraging is that the figures are higher than last year.
Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets
CES is still the world’s largest and most prominent technology event. If you are a tech nerd, there is just nothing else like it. The most comparable event is IFA, which takes place in Berlin each year at the beginning of September.
Over the years, these types of shows have served as the launch ground for much of the technology we now take for granted. Surprisingly, wearables did not make as strong a showing in 2023 as they had in some prior years.
Apple, Fitbit, Amazfit, Fossil, and Xiaomi had practically no new smartwatch of fitness tracker announcements. There were no Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 watches revealed. Which is somewhat disappointing and unexpected. They will, without a doubt, arrive later in the year.
Even Garmin, a mainstay at CES, had nothing that really piqued our interest. In their situation, though, we anticipate an announcement (or two) soon. Most likely in the second half of January.
However, there has been some new health and fitness technology from other brands. Here is our selection from the Las Vegas showrooms. These are just a few of our favourites. Our full coverage of CES 2023 can be found on this link.
Best wearables, health and fitness gear at CES 2023
Withings U-Scan – a mini health-lab that sits in your toilet
Withings is a regular at the event. And it always had something new to show in Las Vegas. In 2022 this came in the form of the Body Scan smart scale. This year we got something entirely different.
U-Scan is a device that sits in your toilet from where it measures chemical components in urine and wirelessly transmits the results to a smartphone app. The gizmo consists of a reader and a replaceable cartridge that collects health data from daily urine. The device can distinguish between urine and toilet water, as well as different users thanks to a Stream ID feature. The app allows users to analyse their data and share their findings with doctors and others.
The device is self-cleaning and will be available in Europe beginning in Q2 2023 for 499.95 Euros. The launch in the US is subject to FDA approval, so will probably arrive a bit later.
At the outset you’ll be able to use U-Scan with two cartridges: the Scan Cycle, which measures Luteinising hormone, pH, and hydration levels, along with Nutri Balance, which measures additional biomarkers. The price of automatic refills and standalone cartridges has yet to be announced.
SomaSleep mask identifies sleep phases by tracking eye movement
SomaSleep Mask is a device that records detailed REM data as well as sleep stages and disruptions. The company plans to offer an SDK for consumer fitness and health brands to improve the accuracy of sleep data in fitness trackers and smartwatches, as well as a smartphone app for viewing trends and gaining wellness insights.
The mask is lightweight and blocks out external light, and it has carbon-nanotube paper composite capacitive sensors that track eye movement and an eight-hour battery life. It is expected to be available for purchase for $199 in the latter part of 2023.
CONNEQT Pulse – the first customisable dual blood pressure monitor
CONNEQT Pulse from CardieX is a blood pressure monitor that employs arterial health technology to deliver medical-grade heart health metrics from the comfort of your own home. Using CardieX’s FDA-cleared SphygmoCor central blood pressure technology, it can measure a variety of arterial health parameters such as arterial stiffness, central blood pressure, pulse pressure, as well as indicators of vascular health.
The device can be personalised using a smartphone app, which allows users to prioritise the displayed parameters. The SphygmoCor central aortic waveform technology is used for the first time in a consumer blood pressure monitor. As far as when you will be able to purchase the device, this depends on when the company gets the stamp of approval from the FDA.
LG Breeze earphones lull you into deep sleep with binaural beats
This is a wireless earphone that uses binaural beats to help you sleep comfortably. However, the device does more than just play different frequencies in each ear.
Breeze employs an EEG sensor to detect the user’s sleep state in real time. The sounds are then personalised based on your current brainwave activity. The goal is to make it easier for you to fall asleep and to improve your sleep quality. Breeze, in particular, promotes deep sleep by inducing Delta brainwaves in the 0.5-3 Hertz range.
The accompanying app allows you to view sleep data and trends (phases, sleep/wake times, sleep position, tossing, steps) as well as read insights on how to improve your sleep routine. No word yet on price or a potential release date but we’ll report when we hear more.
Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition reminds us a bit of old Pebble watches
The hint is in the name. Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition is a hybrid watch which comes with a 1.1-inch grayscale E Ink display. Physical watch hands are placed over the screen. As a result, there is no OLED display, and wearOS has been replaced by a battery-friendly proprietary operating system.
Other design elements include a 44mm case size, a stainless steel body and three physical buttons. The hybrid’s thickness is only 11.4mm, making it a lightweight, unisex device.
In terms of fitness tracking, the hybrid comes standard with automatic workout detection, continuous heart rate tracking, and a blood oxygen monitor. A new Wellness Gauge Dial also provides VO2Max measurement and displays your heart rate zones on the screen during exercise.
Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition costs $299 and can be picked up in three different case options on the company’s website. Now quite the same as the old Pebble watches but it does remind a bit.
Verizon Gizmo Watch 3 packs improved safety features
The selection of smartwatches for kids is increasing with each passing year. Now that Garmin has entered this market there’s more competition than ever. Verizon is a company that has been in this space for a few years now. At CES 2023 they announced Gizmo Watch 3.
Most noteworthy features of the new device include a front-facing camera that can be used for capturing photos, along with video calls and messages. There’s also support for 4G LTE, a step counter, the ability to send and receive emojis, games and entertaining voice recordings, along with a few other features.
The safety functionality of the watch has received a boo st. The device now comes with the ability to set more than one GPS tracking “safe zone” and double the number of trusted contacts.
It is also worth noting that the Gizmo Watch 3’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor outperforms the Gizmo Watch 2’s Snapdragon Wear 2500 SoC. Furthermore, the device has longer battery life.
Valencell introduces innovative fingertip blood pressure monitor
This yet-to-be-named gadget is a cuff less fingertip blood pressure monitor that works via a PPG sensor. Similar to a blood oxygen meter, the device measures blood flow by shining light pulses onto the tip of a finger’s skin. This data is combined with your physical characteristics to arrive at an estimate of your blood pressure.
Verizon says, the measurements are delivered in under a minute. Best of all there is no need for calibration, so everything works out of the box.
But don’t go rushing out to buy a blood pressure monitor just yet. It is expected to be available in the United States once it receives FDA approval, which is expected in late 2023. There is always the possibility of an earlier European launch.
Experience a holistic approach to managing stress with Oxa Life
Oxa Life is a device that aims to improve overall health and well-being through monitoring breathing patterns and heart rate. You can choose between a shirt or a bra. Both of the garments are equipped with electrodes and sensors.
These can be used to measure heart activity, breathing patterns, sleep and recovery. One of the standout features of the Oxa Life is its mindfulness aspect. To this end the wearable spits out a bunch of data to aid in stress reduction.
Of course, there’s also a smartphone app that comes with the system. It includes personalised exercises to promote calmness, focus, resilience, vitality and rest. In there you’ll also find real-time audio and visual journeys that adapt to the user’s body.
A Calmness Score based on heart rate, breathing rate, and heart rate variability is also included in the app. Through its mindfulness component and sensor data, the device aims to provide a comprehensive approach to stress management.
The package, which includes both the shirt and sensor, is priced at around 400 euros.
Nowatch takes a fresh approach to wearable technology
Nowatch is a discreet fitness tracker that resembles a smartwatch but lacks a screen, with its watch face made of unique materials such as ethically sourced gemstones. It aims to combat stress and overstimulation by predicting stress levels in real time with an electrodermal sensor (EDA).
The device can send the wearer subtle vibrations to help them become aware of stressors and emotional outputs. It also has red and green PPG, an accelerometer, temperature sensors, and a barometer, and it can be accessed via an iOS or Android app that displays vital metrics in real time and offers suggestions for a more balanced life.
In a market crowded with health trackers, Nowatch offers something unique. It emphasises aesthetics and mindfulness over notifications and constant distractions.
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