Business

BodyMedia enables remote monitoring of your food and exercise

The problem with most diets is that nobody is really watching you all the time. But with a monitoring device and new remote software to go with it, BodyMedia has proposed a way for a coach or fitness trainer to keep track of your vital signs, including your calorie burn and food intake.

BodyMedia’s Fit Armband System can be strapped to your arm or legs. It keeps track of your activity and, via the new BodyMedia ProConnect software, can relay your data to a doctor, coach, or fitness trainer. With permission, your coach can log onto your BodyMedia Fit Activity Manager account to monitor your activity and send comments directly to you.

Pittsburgh-based BodyMedia unveiled the ProConnect system today at the DEMO Spring 2012 conference in Santa Clara, Calif. The armband monitors daily calories burned, steps taken, level of physical activity, and sleep patterns. You can also enter your daily food intake into online food logs and see how well you are meeting your goals. Of course, you have to be honest about entering the food intake. But if you are, then your coach can get visibility into your regimen 24 hours a day.

“One of the challenges health and fitness advisors face in driving behavioral change is an inability to know exactly how much clients and patients are eating, exercising, and sleeping on a daily basis,” said Christine Robins, chief executive of BodyMedia. “Our wearable body monitors have been collecting that information for over a decade, and now we have taken it a step further” by allowing advisors to view that data remotely and send messages from the same screen.

The body monitors capture more than 5,000 data points per minute. BodyMedia claims that its system can enhance a user’s weight loss by three times.

Gregory Welk (pictured below), director of clinical research and community outreach at Iowa State University’s Nutrition and Wellness Research Center, said his clients have been using the BodyMedia armbands for years and recently began testing ProConnect.

BodyMedia ProConnect is available now for $49 a year for an individual subscription or $399 a year for a corporate subscription.

BodyMedia was founded in 1999 and has been making wearable body monitors for years. So far, it has collected more than 10 billion minutes of Armband data and has recorded more than 170 billion steps. The company has 58 employees and competes with FitBit, Nike Fuel, Jawbone, Basis Science, Striiv, and others. BodyMedia has raised $2.7 million to date.

The founders — all alumni of Carnegie Mellon University — are Astro Teller, John (Ivo) Stivoric, Chris Pacione, and Chris Kasabach.

BodyMedia is one of 80 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2012 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After we make our selections, the chosen companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.


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