Basis premiers new health monitor watch

Health startup Basis is moving in on relatively newly freed-up real estate. With cell phones rendering watches basically obsolete, many wrists are going bare. Basis aims to bring the watch back in style, revamped with some new functions. The lightweight device measures heart rate, calories burned, elevated physical activity and sleep. It then wirelessly sends the data to a personal cloud-based dashboard to be analyzed, and, if the user chooses, shared with others on Facebook.

It records the same information as electrodes and strap-on heart rate monitors, but a senor window makes the small, wearable portable device the first of its size and kind to measure combinations of data. Side by side comparison of information creates a multilayered picture of a person’s health. For example, an accelerometer records motion while an optical blood flow sensor measures heart rate. Together, the two indicate how strenuous certain physical activities are. Another sensor measures galvanic skin response, a look at sweat levels. When the watch is worn 24/7 it also measures how strenuous non-fitness activities, like walking up the steps or taking out the trash, are. Even sedentary activities like sleeping can be analyzed using a combination of motion detection, heart rate and body temperature measures. All three provide insights into the amount of quality sleep a person gets in one night.

The watch’s functions are in line with the Quantified Self strategy where people use tools, applications and electronic gadgets to self-track information to understand their health. If the Basis band performs like it promises, people will have a whole new and convenient way to record their information.

“I think the broad consumer space has really struggled to find the right tool where there’s enough substance to it. Enough real information that helps them make well-informed lifestyle choices and then combines that with an experience that actually keeps you engaged,” Basis CEO Jef Holove said. He thinks the timing is right for Basis because the technology has become advanced and affordable (the watch will sell at $199) at a period when health-conscious behavior is picking up in the U.S.

Basis was one of ten companies to introduce its product at Launch!, a segment dedicated to startup premiers at the Health 2.0 conference. Holove demoed the watch, and it was voted the crowd favorite at the end of the competition. So far the device has only been available in a private beta program, but it will be released to the public by the end of the year.

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