The bathroom scale you use every morning may soon measure much more than your weight. Researchers in Lithuania are developing multifunctional scales that could one day measure more than 20 health parameters and warn us about potentially dangerous life conditions.
A team of researchers at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) have already developed a prototype of multifunctional body composition scales which can help identify the problems in the person’s arterial condition by the pulse arrival time from the heart to the feet.
The researchers are now improving the model by adding new functions and parameters.
“We are continuously increasing the number of parameters, that can be measured using our scales. For example, alongside arterial stiffness, the scales can also detect cardiac arrhythmia (improper beating of the heart),” said Vaidotas Marozas, Director of the KTU Institute of Biomedical Engineering.
“I believe, that in the future, the multifunctional body composition scales will measure more than 20 various health parameters,” Marozas said in a statement released by KTU.
Body composition scales supplemented by handlebar and matching technologies can measure a person’s pulse through sensors on the handlebar and footpad electrodes.
“We are measuring the speed of blood pulse wave: the faster the speed, the stiffer the arteries, which, in turn can already warn about the development of arteriosclerosis, and the latter can be the cause of increased blood pressure and other conditions,” Birute Paliakaite, who is working with the team of researchers from the very start of the project, said.
Among other conditions, the researchers are aiming to integrate the function of recognising the development of hyperkalemia into the scales.
“When a person has the final stage of renal insufficiency syndrome, he or she has to undergo dialysis several times a week. As kidneys cannot manage keeping the balance of microelements in the organism, the risk of potentially life-threatening conditions, such as increased potassium concentration in blood, i.e. hyperkalemia, arises,” Paliakaite said.
When indicating this potentially life-threatening condition, the scales would notify the doctor, who might decide to move the planned dialysis into earlier date, the researchers said.
What is more, the researchers believe that such a household health monitoring device would not even cost people a fortune.
“Our technology is less complex than that of a smartphone, which needs expensive materials and elements. We are creating data processing algorithms, and our main resource is our intellect,” Marozas said.