Unveiled ahead of CES 2024, Withings’ latest innovation, BeamO, merges the futuristic vision of Star Trek with cutting-edge health monitoring technology. The compact and user-friendly device multiscope allows users to perform a 4-in-1 health checkup of body temperature, heart, and lung health in under a minute.
With its multifunctional capabilities, the device bears a notable resemblance to the iconic tricorder from the “Star Trek” series. Both devices epitomize the desire for compact, portable technology capable of performing a variety of health assessments. However, the BeamO represents the practical application of current technology, focusing on accessible and reliable health monitoring for home use, while the tricorder remains a futuristic fantasy.
Scanadu – the first such attempt
Now, it should be noted that this is not the first attempt at such a device. Back in 2012, a device named Scanadu Scout was developed. Bearing similarities to the Withings BeamO, it was a portable electronic device designed to measure various physiological parameters. This includes temperature, heart rate, blood oxygenation, respiratory rate, ECG, and blood pressure. The goal was to make the Scanadu Scout available to consumers as an investigational device by early 2015, following an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and FDA approval for clinical-grade accuracy.
However, Scanadu faced challenges in realizing this vision. While the devices began shipping the company informed customers that the Scout device would no longer be supported after May 2017. This meant the device would cease functioning once the support ended. This decision was part of the company’s transition, as Scanadu relaunched as inui Health in 2020, focusing on a smartphone-enabled home urine testing platform and was subsequently acquired by the Israeli healthcare startup Healthy.io.
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The Withings BeamO aims to provide a similar array of health monitoring functionalities. But the company is navigating the challenges of bringing such a multifunctional health device to the market more successfully. Having said that, the BeamO device is currently not available in the United States, pending a review of its safety and effectiveness by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The hope is that “BeamO will be the thermometer of the future, providing the ability to assess temperature and observe the state of the heart and lungs.”
BeamO: Simplifying Home Health Monitoring
Withings has established itself as a pioneer in the field of wearables and connected health devices. It has some of the most advanced smart scales out there, along with other unique offerings such as its urine analysis device. The company’s latest addition, BeamO, arrives at a time when telehealth has become an integral part of healthcare, driven by recent global health events.
BeamO essentially combines the functionality of four different pieces of medical equipment: a thermometer, ECG, oximeter, and stethoscope. It is a true multi-functional approach to health monitoring.
For some of its readings, BeamO uses photoplethysmography (PPG) and electrodes. These components are key in measuring blood oxygenation and heart rate, alongside its capability to perform a medical-grade 1-lead ECG.
Enhancing the functionality further, BeamO builds upon Withings’ established sensor technology to provide non-contact temperature readings. This feature not only adds to the user’s convenience but also improves the accuracy of the measurements.
For acoustic health monitoring, BeamO is equipped with a digital stethoscope that utilizes a Piezoelectric disc. This technology is adept at capturing sound waves from the chest or back, allowing for detailed heart and lung assessments. The device comes with a USB-C to jack adapter for headphone listening, enabling users to hear these sounds directly. Additionally, its audio streaming capability can be utilised for telehealth consultations, where physicians can guide the placement of the device for targeted health assessments.
Of course, all of this information is synced to the Withings Health app. This is the same software that is used by other devices in its range. The smartphone app stores and tracks health data and provides insights and advice. It also includes features such as creating family health profiles, managing medication schedules, and sharing information with healthcare providers.
BeamO: Price & availability
Recognized as a CES Innovations Award Honoree, BeamO is being showcased at CES 2024. This demonstration will offer attendees a firsthand look at its cutting-edge features. Post receiving FDA clearance for its ECG functionality, BeamO is set to hit the retail market in June 2024 at a price of $249.95, making this advanced health monitoring technology accessible to consumers.
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