Withings' new pee analyzer belongs in your toilet
Withings' new product isn't a smartwatch or a smart scale, but a health-tracking device that brings lab-grade urine analysis into the home.
Withings' latest product is a new fitness tracker that fits in the toilet. Smart toilets that can tell if a person is sick are nothing new. Back in 2020, Stanford University developed a "smart toilet" that can detect signs of disease from urine and feces. In 2022, Israeli health startup Olive Diagnostics unveiled a smart toilet seat that uses a combination of sensors and cloud-based AI to detect biomarkers of various diseases from the user's urine.
Withings U-Scan is described as a health laboratory located in the toilet. It's similar in performance to Olive Diagnostics' smart toilet seat, but it's a much smaller device and likely less expensive, too. The pebble-shaped device attaches to the inside of the toilet and detects biomarkers in urine and monitors other indicators of health. Aiming is a problem because users have to pee directly on it to get a urine sample for analysis.
It Uses Replaceable Cartridges
U-Scan has a reader that can detect when someone pees on it. It will then take a urine sample. Inside the device is a replaceable cartridge that contains 100 test cartridges, enough for three months of use. The urine sample is then analyzed using the biomarkers in the kit. Withings offers two types of cartridges. The Cycle Sync test kit is specifically designed for women to detect biomarkers such as luteinizing hormone (LH), which indicates ovulation. It also detects the specific gravity of the water balance and the pH of the protein-plant balance.
The other is the Nutri Balance cartridge, for males and females over 18 years of age. The cartridge can detect specific gravity for water balance, pH for protein-plant balance, ketones for energy metabolism, and biomarkers for vitamin C levels. Withings has also expressed its willingness to work with health professionals to design customizable cartridges that can be used to monitor patient health and expand the capabilities of U-Scan beyond its current state. There's a companion app where users can view daily readings and get advice and helpful tips.
The device has a rechargeable battery that can last up to three months on a single charge. Users should be able to charge cartridges via the USB-C port while changing them. Withings says U-Scan is priced at €499.95 (around $530) with a choice of Cycle Sync or Nutri Balance cartridges. Users have the option of subscribing to auto-recharge for 29.95 euros (about $32) per month, or buying standalone cartridges from the company. While Europeans will be able to buy U-Scan in the second quarter of 2023, Americans will have to wait for Withings to get FDA approval.
More: Apple Watch's blood oxygen meter is racially biased, lawsuit says