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1/11/2012
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Basis Wristwatch Measures Your Body Signals

Capturing motion, skin temperature, heart rate, and more, the Basis watch can help you measure and understand a variety of health factors.

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Your body is a walking, exercising, sleeping, sweating trove of information. The trouble is, you're not paying much attention (well, maybe the sweating part), mostly because that information is difficult to capture. Technology to the rescue again. Basis has a wristwatch that measures a variety of health factors, captures the information, and then processes and interprets the information. It's one of the more comprehensive systems I've seen in this form factor.

For example, many products take a measure of heart rate. Some help count the steps a user takes during the course of a day. Others track calories. Basis Health And Heart measures heart rate, motion (using accelerometers), galvanic skin response, and skin and ambient temperature.

All of this data gets synced up to Basis (its "cloud service"), where the user can browse the information. Some of the data (motion and skin temperature, for example) gets interpreted as sleep; other data (motion and sweating, for instance) gets interpreted as exercise (although one might argue that this could constitute bad sleep, but let's not get personal). The upshot, then, is that this data isn't just interpreted individually, but taken and understood collectively.

[ There are a growing number of options for monitoring your health. Read iPhone Pulse Oximeter: New App For That. ]

The watch (and yes, it does tell time) uses a host of sensors to detect all of this, and it even includes an optical sensor that emits light into the skin at a particular frequency in order to determine heart rate.

There are some similarities to the much ballyhoo'd Jawbone Up, which was riddled with hardware problems when it shipped. The idea is still a good one. The biggest problem I have with the Basis product is that the software side is completely browser based. That works, but having that data in a smartphone app would also be good, especially for viewing the data offline, as so many products let users do.

At $199, it's not a bad deal. The Jawbone Up is $99, just for comparison's sake.

As healthcare providers of all shapes and sizes start implementing electronic medical records systems, security must be a top priority. Here's what you need to be thinking about to ensure your system is locked down. Download the report here (registration required).

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