Wearable body sensors are in. We've got the Fitbit pedometer, the BodyMedia armband, and the Lark sleep sensor on the market, and Jawbone's Up arriving soon. Joining the fray is what may be the heavy hitter in this fight: the Basis Band.
This wrist-wearable sensor offers the most sensors. In addition to measuring motion (which the other products do), Basis also tracks skin temperature, ambient temperature, galvanic skin response (sweat level), heart rate, and blood oxygen level, which it gets by measuring the spectrum of light reflected back from a green laser that illuminates the skin where the device straps on to the wrist.
The Basis runs its Tricorder functions continuously and stores its telemetry for later upload (over USB or Bluetooth). The device itself doesn't have enough smarts to tell the user if they're exercising enough or how healthy they are; the Basis service has to process the information first and gives the user usable information about their health and activity on their own private Web page.
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One of the big tricks in the Basis algorithms is its capability to determine your activity--walking, running, typing, etc.--even though the device is strapped to your wrist, where a lot of the motion is obviously unrelated to what the rest of your body is doing. CEO Jef Holove thinks that the company's data processing chops are its secret weapon and the competitive barrier to entry. The sensor technology in the Basis is not exactly rocket science; the cool oxygen sensor is standard medical tech, for example. … Read more