Monrovia, Calif.-based StayHealthy wants to put health monitoring devices used widely in research into the hands of mass-market consumers. It has built two devices, a body composition machine retailing at $99.95 and a calorie tracker for $69.95. But it’s also working on phone-based apps to help users monitor their calorie burn rate that should be available later this year.
So obsessive iPhone e-mail checkers may soon be able to apply that tenacity to their calorie count.
“We think that information is key for people taking control of their health and the question is how do you make it most conveniently accessible?” said StayHealthy president Brian Baum. “We recognize that people don’t want to walk around with a half-dozen devices and the most ubiquitous device from a market perspective is the iPhone.”
StayHealthy focuses on body composition, which is measure of a person’s bone, muscle and fat levels, over weight because it is a more accurate gauge of health, Baum said. Because muscle is easier to lose than fat, a dieter may inadvertently lose more lean mass if they just cut back on calories without any exercise.
When a person is measuring their body composition, they grip StayHealthy’s device with two hands. It sends an electric pulse through one hand and measures the time it takes to pass through the entire body and into the other hand. Because water conducts electricity well, a slow response time might mean the person has a higher level of fat.
StayHealthy’s second device is a calorie tracker and uses an accelerometer you wear on your waist to gauge how active you’ve been during the day. The devices relay that information privately online so users can keep track of their goals and how far they’ve progressed. They can also let outsiders like doctors or fitness trainers monitor their data to bring on extra pressure to meet health goals. StayHealthy isn’t focused on marketing its devices directly to consumers and is instead partnering with fitness centers, health providers and weight-loss centers to sell its products.
Baum said the company had sales of the devices in the “low thousands” so far and that this is the year it will focus on deployment. The company is privately held and has raised $12 million since its inception in 1995. A few other companies are in the health and wellness space on mobile phones, including Bones in Motion, which lets athletes track the distance and speed of their training regimens using GPS technology, iHeartRate, which tracks heart rate and has a calorie burn calculator, iFitness, which shows images of more than 230 exercises sorted by body region or target muscle group, and Tap & Track, which lets users follow the calories they ingest and burn.