This is "Healthy Tech," where guest columnist Alan Danzis reports on choice healthy technology news stories. Each week you'll discover new fitness gadgets, apps and going-ons, as well as what's around the corner, with medical innovations that will one day change the way you monitor and impact your overall health and well-being.
In this week's edition of Healthy Tech: walking can help burn calories and charge your phone, too, when you add a 24-year-old inventor's tech to the shoe soles; a mobile start-up proves that pretty much no one in the entire world is eating healthy at 1 A.M.; and one company gets millions in venture capital to help you the perform self-tracking of serious medical ailments at home.
1. Burn Calories, Charge Your Phone
Carrying a pedometer like the Fitbit is a great way to increase the number of steps you take each day and walking is one of the easiest ways to burn calories if you do a lot of it.
But now you have a new incentive: 24-year-old Anthony Mutua from Kenya has developed a technology that, when placed in shoe soles, can actually help generate electricity for charging your cell phone when you go out for a walk.
For instance, you can either charge a phone while walking through a thin cable that connects from your shoe to your pocket — which is probably not the ideal way — or you can choose to store that electric energy and charge your phone later by plugging it in, like you would with any other device.
It's not out yet, but the Mutua expects it to go into mass production very soon. The technology's price in Africa equals the equivalent of $46 which is awfully affordable when you think of solar chargers on the market that start in the range of $80-$100.
Mutua has received a funding of $6,000 from the National Council of Science and Technology, but I have to imagine he's going to have Nike or some other manufacturer calling very soon.
2. You're Not the Only One Eating An Unhealthy Midnight Snack
A new mobile startup called Massive Health recently showed off images, based on data from their users, that shows people start off healthy eating in the morning, but get progressively worse throughout the day. (That must not apply to Ron Swanson and his penchant for massive breakfasts.)
You might know the company Massive Health from their free iTunes app, Eatery, which allows you take a photo of your meals and track them to see how healthy you are eating by yourself or against friends.
As seen in the images, by 10 P.M., most of the East Coast of North America is not eating healthy in large amounts, and by 1 A.M., there's pretty much nobody left eating healthy. (Somehow, a salad just doesn't seem like a good option after a heavy night of drinking.)
The images provided by Massive Health reflect ratings on about half a million meals from users in 50 countries, collected in over 5 months.
According to Massive Health founder Aza Raskin, "There is a 1.7 percent overall decrease in healthiness of what's eaten for every hour of the day that passes after breakfast. That's as true in Tokyo as it is in San Francisco as it is in São Paulo. It teaches us about something fundamental about the way people make decisions about food--and decisions in general."
3. Self-Tracking Health Gadgets Get More Serious
Normally, I wouldn't write about funding on DVICE, but it was quite surprising to see Comcast Ventures lead a $12 million funding round for BodyMedia. This is the first time Comcast Ventures, which previously only backed information technology companies, backed a health gadget related one.
BodyMedia makes FIT, a series of armbands that uses medical-grade sensors to track different health habits for consumers. It's seen as more of a medical device, since it's FDA-approved, than FitBit and Nike FuelBand, which are marketed more as consumer products.
While the $12 million pales in comparison to the previous $49 million in funding BodyMedia has received, the company now plans to develop devices that will help patients monitor diabetes, treat sleep disorder and even care for the elderly.
We've come a long way from WiFi enabled scales and pedometers which only emerged within the last one to three years. Self-tracking is a trend consumers seem to be interested in by the power and sales of FitBit and FuelBand devices (as well as others); but now we're starting to see that technology applied to serious medical issues as well. Clearly, BodyMedia is trying to differentiate itself from more consumer-friendly brands and position itself between serious health issues that can actually be monitoring by consumers.
Via Venture Beat
Editor's Note: Healthy Tech is a new segment here on DVICE, one of several we're looking to launch. This feature is interactive: if you have questions for Alan, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to include a personal website or Twitter URL we can find you at — if we use your question we'll include your link.