New sensors transform Withings scale into smart home and body monitor

New year, new resolutions. Chances are, if you overindulged over the holidays like this writer, you're in need of a little motivation. Lucky for you, at CES, Withings announced some new health tech to help.

For the Paris-based company, innovation means cramming in more sensors into its products. Its refreshed scale now tracks temperature and CO2, transforming this already smart household fixture into a much more robust home monitor. Withings also debuted a new smart tracker that includes a few unique twists, including heart-rate tracking capabilities.

The New Scale

Like the company's previous scale, the Smart Body Analyzer connects to your home wireless network to send measurements to a Web dashboard and mobile app. But this new scale has a few additional sensors, reading your resting heart rate and your home's air quality, composed of temperature and carbon dioxide levels.

By adding a different yet related measurement to your health dashboard, this home sensor brings a very new element to Wi-Fi-connected scales. High levels of carbon dioxide can produce negative health effects, such as headaches, restlessness and increased heart rate, so when the scale detects such, it can alert you to open a window at home. That is something the home weather monitor Netatmo does as well. Unsurprisingly, that product, which includes indoor and outdoor modules, has deep ties to Withings (Netatmo's co-founders have also worked on Withings).

In essence, this WiFi scale is now so robust that it is functions as both a smart body and home monitor. The Smart Body Analyzer is expected to ship later this quarter for $150.


The Fitness Tracker

Foraying into activity tracking — a very logical move for the company given its existing health-tech products — Withings debuted its Smart Activity Tracker, a pocket-sized monitor that's reminiscent of the Fitbit in terms of form factor and interaction. It can be carried in a pocket, worn on an armband (for sleep tracking) or clipped onto clothing with a holster accessory.

Cédric Hutchings, CEO and co-founder of Withings, told me that the screen is an important component of the Smart Activity Tracker. Unlike wristband monitors, for instance, a tracker with a screen provides immediate feedback and can function standalone without an app. Withings further distinguishes itself by offering one other additional piece of information: your previous day's stats. This allows you to see how today's progress stacks up to the prior.

The Smart Activity Tracker monitors steps taken, floors climbed, distance traveled, calories burned, sleep quality and heart rate. Most of these stats are standard fare when it comes to activity trackers, but that last one, heart rate, which is measured optically, helps differentiate Withings' offering from the pack. Typically, heart-monitoring gadgets, like the new Basis watch which retails for $199, are priced much higher than trackers without this capability. Hutchings says the Smart Activity Tracker will be available at the end of March, but no details on pricing yet.

For those looking for technology to give them a push in the right direction, Withings is more than willing to help.

Posted on location at CES 2013 in Las Vegas. All photos taken by Alice Truong for DVICE.

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