We’ve been using the Fitbit at Tested HQ for some time now, and it’s a fantastic little device for tracking all manner of physical activity. But it’s not perfect, and company called Basis thinks it can do one better.
Basis is launching a product called the Basis B1 band, a wrist strap device slightly thicker than your typical watch. The goal is to use a myriad of advanced sensors to gather data that competing products don’t—but will that be enough to help Basis stand out in an already saturated space?
Where the Basis band differs is in its proprietary optical engine, a specialized sensor “that tracks heart rate by directing light into the skin.” This apparently allows the B1 band to “see” the movement of blood, and thus track a user’s heart rate more accurately. According to the company’s website, this is in addition to “two heat sensors that tracks skin and ambient temperature changes; a 3-axis accelerometer that records movement and activity; and galvanic skin response sensors that helps track the intensity of activity by measuring sweat levels.”
That last sensor—the one that measures galvanic skin response—is particularly interesting. A representative at the Basis booth explained that the device is smart enough to distinguish between sweat from a hot day and sweat from working out at the gym. This data and more is continuously tracked, and like the Fitbit, can measure how well you’ve slept and approximate calories burned.
All this data is sent to a web interface, which Basis unveiled for the first time at this year's show, and is billed as a “personalized dashboard of [user] results and accomplishments.” The band’s sensor data is displayed using graphs, charts and visualizations that provide feedback on the wearer’s health and activity, making it “easy to view trends over time, as broadly or or in as much detail as you’d like.”
The device is water proof, so it can also be used while swimming. The idea, of course, is that the wearer keeps the band on at all times—at least until the five-day battery needs to be recharged. We’re told the Basis B1 will be available in the first quarter of 2012, assuming you’re fine with the $199 price of admission. Healthy living doesn’t come cheap, but your sweat isn’t going to track itself.