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Healbe's GoBe 2 calorie tracker teases the future of wearables

Healbe's GoBe 2 calorie tracker teases the future of wearables
From Engadget - July 6, 2017

In order to see what the future of medical wearables could be like, I have spent the past few weeks with the new GoBe 2 strapped to my wrist. The device was soft-launched to a group of pre-order customers a few months ago, with more going on sale at some point this fall. If the name tickles a synapse at the back of your brain, it's because Healbe burst onto the scene in 2014. The company launched an Indiegogo campaign to build a watch that could track how many calories you'd eaten each day. Not your blood sugar, but close enough.

Imagine it: You'd never have to think about logging your calorie intake again; your watch would do it all for you. The claim was ridiculous, but the company managed to secure more than $1 million in backing. Medical professionals and journalists weighed in, saying that the idea was about as feasible as capturing a unicorn fart. Thanks to sites like PandoDaily, the name Healbe became synonymous with companies that tried to sell you a dream and run off with your cash.

The device finally launched a year later, with its signature tracking feature kinda sorta working, but not very well. When we reviewed it, we felt that the watch had too many rough edges to justify people buying it, despite its vastly superior sleep and fitness tracking features. Perhaps the company rushed its first release in response to public pressure, which ostensibly explains why it failed. Now, Healbe believes that its second-generation device is finally ready for prime time and able to do what was promised.

As for the science, Healbe claims that it uses a piezoelectric impedance sensor to push high- and low-frequency signals through your wrist. Shortly after eating, the cells in your bloodstream begin releasing water as they absorb the new glucose. The device, so the company says, can use the impedance signals to look at the size and shape of the cells, and track the change in water. From there, it's just a case of using fancy math to calculate the amount of food you have noshed in a sitting.

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