Withings’ New Smart Scale Can Measure Your Individual Body Parts

Withings’ New Smart Scale Can Measure Your Individual Body Parts
Image: Withings

Two years into a global pandemic with no end in sight is as good a time as any to try to get back into shape. To make that easier while minimising regular trips to a public gym or doctor’s office, Withings has updated its smart scale with a new feature that improves the accuracy of the data the scale collects whenever someone uses it.

Back in 2009, Withings created one of the first smart scales that was able to measure more than just someone’s weight when they stepped on it. Using bioelectrical impedance analysis, where a low-amplitude electrical current is passed through the body through bare feet and then the resistance of the current flow is measured, the scale was able to determine the user’s percentage of body fat versus muscle and water, providing a more detailed break down of their body’s health.

The scales included other tricks too, including measuring the user’s heart rate and syncing all of that collected data with the cloud and an accompanying app allowing users to easily track their health progress over time. For 2022, Withings is introducing the next generation of its smart scale that includes an added retractable handle with four additional stainless steel electrodes that allow for new functionality.

Previous versions of Withings’ scales were limited to reporting the percentages of a user’s body fat, water, visceral fat, plus muscle and bone mass on a whole body basis. The new Withings Body Scan scale is able to provide the same readings but broken down for specific body parts, including the torso, arms, and legs. So if every day is leg day for you, you should be able to see that specific progress, including muscle mass gains, through the Withings app.

Other upgrades include the ability to perform 6-lead ECG (electrocardiogram) measurements using the four electrodes on the handle and one on the scale’s base and then crunch that data using proprietary algorithms to detect potential heart issues like arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation. The new Body Scan can also keep an eye out for problems with a user’s nerve activity through a 30-second test where a small current is applied to sweat glands in the feet. The number of chloride ions the glands release in response can be an early indicator of small nerve fibres degenerating, which is another issue that can be reversed through a more healthy lifestyle.

For those who’d rather skip the app or prefer their health data kept out of the cloud, the Body Scan features a built-in high-res 3.2-inch colour LCD screen that displays all of the scale’s findings every time it’s used. Users will just have to remember to look down while using it.

Availability for the new Withings Body Scan is expected to be sometime in the second half of 2022, but given it hasn’t been cleared by the FDA yet, the product could see delays if specific features need to be modified or removed altogether based on the government agency’s findings. As a result, pricing information isn’t available just yet either, but you can expect it to cost more than the $US150 ($209) Withings Body Cardio that’s currently available.