The Personal Health Monitor Blog
The Latest Health Gadgets and Technology

Blog Archive

April - May 2006


Narrowing the Rift between Geeks and Jocks
The Kansas City Star runs a series of great articles on health monitors, aimed at fitness fanatics, though, as one of the reports notes:

The age-old rift between the geeks and the jocks is getting smaller.

Weekend warriors and everyday fitness buffs are geeking up with high-tech gear that will do just about everything for them but sweat.

Devices from companies like Olathe-based Garmin International use satellite tracking to help runners, walkers and bikers calculate their speed and the grade of that hill they just climbed, and even show their course on a computer using satellite maps from Google Earth.

Heart-rate monitors help them calculate the calories they’re burning and see whether they’re working hard enough, or too hard.

Sunglasses have built-in MP3 players. MP3 players have built-in stopwatches. Last week, Nike and Apple announced a partnership to launch a product line that combines a $29 sensor, a new $100 pair of running shoes and an iPod Nano MP3 player so users can track distance, time, pace and calories while listening to music.

Even pedometers have gone digital, calculating walkers’ daily steps and letting them track their progress by computer.

A separate "gear guide" is here.
May 29th, 2006



New Breathalyzer from Lifeloc
Breathalyzer company Lifeloc Technologies has introduced a new model, the Phoenix 6.0.

A press release from the company states:

The new Phoenix 6.0 device is highly intuitive, with fast, digital operation based on patented software design. Its simplistic electronic calibration, numerous safeguards and self-diagnostics even incorporate a built-in barometric pressure sensor, all of which help eliminate factors that might render breath alcohol detector results invalid. Built-in EasyMode(TM) software guides the operator through testing sequences with instructions on a large, bright, LCD screen displaying text messages, graphic icons, and precise test results.

The U.S. Department of Transportation mandates that test results must be printed, recorded and acknowledged by the individual. The Phoenix 6.0 facilitates this evidential alcohol breathalyzer testing, incorporating a 250-test internal memory, wireless connection, and a new, patented PermAffix(TM) printing and labeling system. This system produces tamper-evident, self-adhesive labels perfectly fitted for DOT forms -- allowing convenient and legible documentation of breath alcohol detector results in just seconds.

May 27th, 2006


Public Library Pedometers
I think this is a great idea. The Huntsville Public Library in Ontario lends pedometers, as well as providing 10,000 Steps Walking Kits. My local library has a good collection of trashy DVDs. I'd prefer they offered pedometers.
May 25th, 2006


The iPod Pedometer
Nike is to market a kit that allows iPods to function as a pedometer, giving runners information on the distance they've gone, the calories they've burned, and the length of time they've been running. The kit will include a wireless antenna that connects the iPod to specially designed Nike shoes.
May 24th, 2006


Home ECG Analysis
Thank you to Aussie company Medisoft for alerting me to the Cardy series of ECG products. Of particular note is the Cardy Home, which allows patients to take their ECG measurements at home. These results can be analysed by computer. And if the unit detects significant changes in a readout it will advise a visit to the doctor, who is also able to download the reading to a computer.

May 22nd, 2006


New Body Fat Monitor
Akihabara News reports on the Tanita BC-502 body fat monitor, which is equipped with a Bluetooth module that can transmit data to a mobile phone and then to a website that can be checked by a doctor. It's not on Tanita's US website, and there's no indication that it is to be released anytime soon outside Japan.
May 22nd, 2006


AlcoScan Breathalyzer - Love the Contour
The Gearlog website continues its (very unscientific) breathalyzer tests, by taking the AlcoScan AL6000 to a student party. The conclusion:

We consider the AlcoScan AL6000 from AK Solutions the most ergonomic breathalyzer of them all, considering its fabulous contour design. It's a great addition to your collection of ergonomic keyboards, desk chairs, and computer mice. Not to mention, it's a great trend-setter because it not only comes in standard black/silver, but in a shiny black/red, too! We like.

...Overall Impressions. Simple to use. Fairly accurate. Great party toy. A bit bulky for your purse or pocket. Comes with an awkward-shaped case and the device fits too snugly in the case. She wouldn't buy it for herself since she's a mass transit user, but she might buy one for a friend who drives.

May 18th, 2006


When You Want to Write and Exercise
The latest ballpoint pen from Taiwan - it comes with a built-in pedometer.
May 15th, 2006


Choosing a Thermometer - Guidance from the Mayo Clinic
Check the Mayo Clinic website for a useful slide show titled "Choosing a Thermometer." The first picture illustrates five different thermometers, and, as the caption says, "If you're over 30, you may not recognize all the temperature-taking gadgets shown here."
May 13th, 2006



If There's No Sober Person Around To Recalibrate It For You, You're In Trouble!
The Gearlog website continues to review breathalyzers, with a test of the Brookstone Digital Alcohol Detector:

Everyone at the party stood in line to try the breathalyzer. Bennett felt that it provided seemingly accurate readings with different people. For example, it gave a lower reading for the guy having beers as opposed to himself, who was rocking the hard alcohol cocktails. It even provided a zero measurement to the most responsible member of the group, who was drinking just Coke.

Overall Impressions: He was impressed with the Breathalyzer’s accuracy, and liked how small and easy it is to slip into pockets. But having the same button that both powers the device and triggers the device calibration procedure makes it way too easy to recalibrate by accident. And if there's no sober person around to recalibrate it for you, you're in trouble!

May 12th, 2006


New Mobile Phone with Pedometer
Nokia's latest mobile phone, the Nokia 5500 Sport, features a pedometer, enabling users to measure distance traveled and calories burned. Details here.
May 11th, 2006


AlcoHawk ABI - Handy for Impatient Drunkards
The Gearlog website (which bills itself as "a gadget guide by geeks for geeks") carries reviews of the AlcoHawk Slim and the AlcoHawk ABI breathalyzers.

It was hardly the world's most scientific test:

I was actually surprised that after only 2 drinks I had a .05, so it just goes to show it doesn't take much. As for my boyfriend, I put him to bed and placed a bowl next to him while he slept just in case, well, you know.

And the conclusion?

Both AlcoHAWK devices are designed by the company Q3 Innovations. I liked the AlcoHAWK Slim because it fits right in your pocket or purse. I felt that it was pretty accurate, but it takes awhile to warm up. The AlcoHAWK ABI is a bit bigger than the Slim. It's actually the company's best selling unit. The ABI takes less time to warm up than the Slim does, which is handy for impatient drunkards. If I had to choose one over the other, I'd go with the ABI, just for the fact that it seems more accurate (since it's DOT approved) and comes with a car charger.
May 6th, 2006


The BreathKey Breathalyzer
The Cincinnati Enquirer features the BreathKey, a digital key-chain breathalyzer that can give people a quick measurement of their blood alcohol concentration before they get in their cars. According to the article:

BreathKey is about the size of a keyless entry remote for a car. It is the only digital key-chain breathalyzer to be certified by the FDA. Three other key-chain breathalyzers certified by the FDA use a color-coding system to indicate blood alcohol concentration.

BreathKey also is the only consumer key-chain breathalyzer to use a fuel-cell alcohol sensor, the same type of sensor found in breathalyzers used by law enforcement.

You can read more about the BreathKey here.
May 5th, 2006


Digital Ear Thermometers Are Best
Are digital ear thermometers really accurate? The "Body and Soul" columnist of The Times newspaper believes they are.

A digital thermometer placed in a child’s ear canal will give you the most accurate reading.

A team of researchers from Queen Mary’s Hospital, in Sidcup, Kent, recently reviewed the literature on the most effective methods of monitoring a child’s body temperature. They found that tympanic temperature, the temperature monitored in a child’s ear canal, gives the most accurate reading even when his or her body temperature is changing rapidly.

April 29th, 2006


Bone Exercise Monitor
Newtest Oy, a Finnish fitness technology company, has launched a bone exercise monitor, which enables the bone-strengthening power of exercise to be measured individually.

According to information from the company:

Small enough to be carried on the waist, the Newtest Bone Exercise Monitor™ keeps track of the user's daily exercise and immediately analyses it. The device can be used all the time. With it, the user can monitor everyday physical activity and fitness and health exercises. The monitor shows how many per cent of the daily and weekly bone exercise the user has already completed.

Newtest is also a new tool for physicians, physiotherapists and exercise instructors, facilitating the drawing up of bone exercise instructions and ensuring easier guidance and better motivation. With the monitor, it is possible to keep an eye on reaching bone exercise targets and ensure the actual impact of the exercise.

April 22nd, 2006



Australia's Sunday Telegraph carries a long article on how to test yourself at home for a wide range of afflictions. For example, it recommends home blood test monitors for some people. It's a good article, very sensible, very balanced. But take a look at the photo (right) that accompanies it!
April 10th, 2006


More on Omron's Expansion
A press release from Omron Healthcare gives some detail on the benefits expected from the acquisition of Colin Medical Instruments (below):

As the number of Americans with lifestyle-related diseases such as hypertension and diabetes continues to increase, the need for comprehensive healthcare solutions is greater than ever before.

New areas of focus that will be created by this acquisition include:

-- Enabling clinicians to assess arterial stiffness through products
utilizing Colin and Omron Healthcare technologies;
-- Identifying opportunities to connect the consumer and the clinician for
more effective healthcare management.

Omron Healthcare's acquisition is also intended to enrich its current business by:

-- Expanding its blood pressure monitoring business;
-- Continuing to strengthen its brand by promoting its blood pressure
monitoring technology and products for the medical workplace (hospitals
and clinics) and home use;
-- Developing the next generation of blood pressure monitoring technology;
-- Enhancing the availability CMI's products in the North and South
American market.

April 7th, 2006


Omron Expands in the US
Omron Healthcare has completed its takeover of Colin Medical Instruments, a niche manufacturer of blood pressure monitors, based in Texas. Omron says "the
combination of the two companies will provide a broader range of medical devices that can be sold to hospitals and for use in a home setting."
April 4th, 2006



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