Not a piss take even if it’s clearly something that takes and tests it, the latest health gadget from Withings could be its strangest yet.
The year’s first consumer tech expo every year, CES, is known to have its share of crazy and weird gadgets, with the unexpected occupying the odd stories we write yearly, but one from Withings might be one of the most bizarre yet.
The company that offers Australians a sleep analysis pad for their beds and saw the first approved electrocardiograph in Australia is going to turn to another part of your body to understand your health, and it’s one you mightn’t expect.
Specifically, it’ll be a part of your body that you expel, as Withings turns to your urine to gather information about you. This is literally a company taking the piss, but not in the sarcastic sense of the word, as the Withings U-Scan will sit in a toilet, pick up on elements of urine, and then scan it for the results.
You won’t need to think about how the U-Scan works, but the small white gadget includes a pump that starts working to collect urine when a thermal sensor picks up on you releasing it, which then injects the urine samples into a test pod to analyse its properties, before being expelled through a waste outlet in the device.
In development for four years, the U-Scan is a complex system made to look at what you expel, and one Withings says can distinguish between multiple users, thanks to low energy radar, distance of the stream, movement, and other factors, resulting in what the company says is “Stream ID”.
In short, Withings can apparently tell the difference between when you take a leak, and when someone else in your family does.
Analysing the urine will occur in a small cartridge system that includes biomarkers to check the liquid for. At first, there will be two of those cartridges, with the “ScanCycle” used for checking menstrual cycles, while the “NutriBalance” cartridge can be used to check for nutrition and hydration levels, covering vitamins C, ketone, and pH balance, among others. Withings also has a cartridge “for professionals”, but hasn’t said what it does differently.
Regardless of which cartridge is used, Withings says the results will go to its Health Mate app, which like its ScanWatch Horizon smartwatch and electronic blood pressure monitor can be used to provide long-term results and guidance, and may be useful for health professionals you may be seeing.
“The ability of U-Scan to perform daily urine analysis from the home allows Withings to take its mission to help consumers and physicians fully utilise urine data to an entirely new level,” said Mathieu Letombe, CEO of Withings.
“It’s one of the most exciting and complex products we have ever announced which will help people manage health outcomes and prevent countless diseases,” he said.
As for release and pricing, neither have been announced for Australia just yet. We also don’t know how long its battery will last for, and how awkward the process of charging a gadget designed to sit in your toilet could be. However, with a launch expected some time this year, we’ll hopefully have more information soon.