BodyMedia Brings Expertise to Consumer Wearable Body Monitor Market

The weight loss market is, for lack of a better word, a growing business, as millions of people look for opportunities to lose weight and get in better shape. As a result, companies such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are expanding, and television shows such as The Biggest Loser draw much interest.

The question is how to actually monitor how a person is doing in terms of weight loss. The scale alone doesn’t paint a complete picture, as changing behavior is a far better guarantor of success. Monitoring systems are far more sophisticated, but do consumers wish to wear them if they are bulky and obvious?

BodyMedia has found the ideal medium for consumers who are interested in watching their weight. A Pittsburgh, PA-based 13-year-old company specializing in consumer wearable body monitoring systems, BodyMedia has come up with a body monitoring system that consists of an armband that automatically and accurately collects the wearer’s data and displays the information in online and mobile applications to show information on calories, activity and sleep. The data can be reviewed and used by the wearer directly, as well as be downloaded by health and wellness professionals.

The latest example is its Core 2 Armband, a smaller, sleeker version of the already popular BodyMedia armbands. It records more than 5,000 datapoints per minute. In this way, data captured by BodyMedia’s around-the-clock on-body monitors can help guide behavioral changes to control weight and promote an active lifestyle.

Ivo Stivoric, chief technology officer and vice president of new products at BodyMedia, as well as one of its founders, noted that BodyMedia uses a multi-sensor approach.

“This has to be a multi-sensor approach,” Stivoric said. “Our products have a 14 day battery life, and hold one month of data, such as total calorie expenditure, minutes of activity and sleep. Weight loss is our core market, and we are working on expanding their lifestyle monitoring into areas such as diabetes, sleep disorders and cardiac conditions.”

The BodyMedia platform is the only system of its kind that is registered with the FDA as a Class II medical device. The company has gained much interest due to its connection with TV shows like The Biggest Loser, weight loss companies such as Jenny Craig and fitness clubs such as 24 Hour Fitness.

“Our products have appeared on The Biggest Loser for years, and two examples of strong partnership is our work with Jenny Craig and 24 Hour Fitness,” Stivoric said.

As Stivoric noted, BodyMedia is interested in new markets where its technology can make a difference. One such area is health care, and BodyMedia is working closely with Avery Dennison’s medical subsidiary, Vancive Medical Technologies, on developing Vue Patch, a waterproof disposable patch that can provide a snapshot of someone’s lifestyle to be used for trial purposeor a diagnostic tool such as disease management and remote care. Vue Patch is worn continuously for seven days. Once the patch is removed, a micro-USB port allows the user to upload its data.

“Avery Dennison has excellent high speed manufacturing capability around electro-mechanical systems (known in the makret for their RFID business, as one example) and world class adhesive technology. We can put the patch to use in a wide range of use cases, and when adding ECG into our sensors, will allow a person to put their heart rate into context, whether you are working out, sleeping, driving, etc.” Stivoric said. “Once you complete your wear of the patch, you simply cut it open to expose a USB connector to plug into and report the user's data in real time."

The ability to partner with Vancive, utilizing both its Metria technology and BodyMedia's technologies, has numerous advantages, including flexibility, size and cost, and Stivoric sees countless opportunities for this kind of product.

“The goal is tocontinually make our systems lighter and more fashionable and applicable to numerous applications,” Stivoric concluded. “We’re pretty excited about our product line in 2013 and beyond.”