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Electronics & Test
TI Chip Helps Calculate Human Body Composition
8/6/2012

The AFE4300 chip could bring body composition measurement capabilities to the home bathroom scale. (Source: Texas Instruments)
The AFE4300 chip could bring body composition measurement capabilities to the home bathroom scale.
(Source: Texas Instruments)

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naperlou
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Well within range
naperlou   8/6/2012 8:56:49 AM
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Considering that heart rate monitors cost $100 and up (if you don't find them on sale) and that people spend lots of money on fitness equipment and/or gym memberships, this is a good price point for such a device. 

Body composition is much more important than the calculated BMI and other measures.  Of course, it requires more intelligent devices, such as this one, to calculate. 

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Well within range
Beth Stackpole   8/6/2012 9:54:35 AM
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Hmmm. Still debating if this would be something that would make my list of to-buy gadgets although there is obvious benefit to knowing your body makeup. But then again, who needs the pressure of the constant reminder.

In all seriousness, given the fitness craze and our increasing focus on health and wellness, this chip puts really important monitoring capabilities well in reach of the average consumer and that's a good thing.

Jennifer Campbell
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Re: Well within range
Jennifer Campbell   8/6/2012 10:46:29 AM
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I'm right there with you, Beth. I still can't decide if this a good or bad idea, though having this in my bathroom MIGHT make me think twice about eating that cupcake!

I think TJ is right in his assessment that it will hit gyms before homes.

williamlweaver
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Re: Well within range
williamlweaver   8/6/2012 12:17:22 PM
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I'm hoping this technology can modernize those nasty Height/Weight BMI charts. I have no problem with the Wii telling me I'm obese each morning, but for my 16 yo son, it's a different matter.
 
He has always been on the short side of average at each of his annual trips to the pediatrician (which prompted many a wonderful discussion of how to interpret statistical results) and hormones have kicked in overtime now that he is 16. He is in training for his 3rd degree black belt and has 8 hours of formal training each week in addition to his own workouts. The training has paid off and he has recently bloomed quite broad shoulders and chest and the six-pack abs that I never had. He had his height and weight checked at school along with all of the other kids and later received a letter informing him that his Height/Weight ratio has flagged him as being Obese. The letter also included pamphlets and information on how he should start exercising along with a list of health problems he will be facing in the future if he does not change his habits. He was pretty upset.
 
I'm all for facing the facts, but it would be nice if our measurement models produced facts, not fiction.


TJ McDermott
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Re: Well within range
TJ McDermott   8/6/2012 10:00:16 AM
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I think it more likely you'll find these in every commercial gym and fitness club before they reach into the home.

Jack Rupert, PE
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How is it Calculated?
Jack Rupert, PE   8/6/2012 3:15:49 PM
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I would be interested in learning a bit more about the algorithm used for this.  At first look, it would seem that the body's resistance would change significantly by where you carried your fat.  For example, it is more dangerous to have the fat be internal on / near the organs rather than on the outside of the muscle structure.  In addition, would body composition throw this off?

jdeslich
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Iron
Lack of specificity of features
jdeslich   8/6/2012 3:17:06 PM
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So it goes in a scale that tells me my % body fat, please give me more details. I have a % body fat scale that cost me $59.95 not $100-$200. OK, so may the TI chip does something better, but why should I believe that with out some specifications?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Lack of specificity of features
Rob Spiegel   8/6/2012 6:01:04 PM
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Hey, Jdeslich, you have a scale that does this for $59.95? How does it calculate fat versus muscle. Does it have a device that sends a signal through the body?

jdeslich
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Iron
Re: Lack of specificity of features
jdeslich   8/6/2012 6:23:53 PM
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Yes I do, yes it does, and they are quite common. Googe "Tanita", there are others.

I've found it to be accurate to within 1 percentage point of body fat to the underwater immersion or calipier measurement methods.

To be any more accurate than that seems unnecessary even for a competive age-group triathlete. 

Repeatability is probably the most important concern in a consumer instrument.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Lack of specificity of features
Rob Spiegel   8/7/2012 11:09:26 AM
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Well, Jdeslich, I'm impressed that a product that sells for $60 can offer such an analysis. It will be interesting to see if the wide range of medical devices being introduced these days will have inexpensive consumer counterparts.

bobjengr
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TI CHIP
bobjengr   8/14/2012 9:04:27 PM
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Charles, I have wondered for quite some time as to how a system such as this works.  In years passed I was tested every three months for BMI that involved percent body fat relative to muscle, etc etc.  This is a program I volunteered for some time ago and is sponsored by one of the hospitals in our city.  In the early days of this program, a "standard" method of calculating body fat was used; i.e. calipers.  I'm told there is a significant improvement when using the scales and the medical practitioners now use only this method.  Quite impressive and much less time consuming.  This means you get the bad news and the lecture even sooner.

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