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January 2006


Omron Sees a Bright Future

The Daily Yomiuri – the English edition of Japan’s largest daily newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun – carries an excellent feature on Omron Healthcare. Anyone interested in trends in personal health monitors should read the entire article.


Some highlights:


- Building on its strengths in the home medical field, the company is now working to boost its presence in the professional medical domain.


- The company is working to develop a new business in healthcare support services.


- It sees the home medical instrument business polarizing into cheap products offering basic functions and more expensive models of high quality. Omron expects to be in the latter group.


- Domestic Japanese sales are just under half of total healthcare turnover, with America about one quarter. Blood pressure monitors account for up to 80% of overseas sales, though the company is experiencing rapid growth in bathroom scales and body composition monitors.

January 30th, 2006



Electronic Pets to Monitor Your Health
This article is more than a month old, but still interesting. It seems that scientists are working to develop electronic "pets" that will monitor the health of the sick and elderly. UPI reports:

Computerized "pets," such as those coming from Japanese electronics makers, could approach their flesh-and-blood counterparts in providing people with social interaction stimuli, scientists said Thursday.

Purdue University is running a year-long study that puts an "AIBO" robot dog for six weeks in the homes of people 65 years and older who live alone, said Alan Beck, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond in Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine.

Cats and dogs have the well-documented ability to improve patients' stress levels, blood pressure and other factors. Using robots could do the same while alleviating a medical staff's worries about possible animal drawbacks, such as the need for feeding and exercise, Beck said.

..."Ideally, down the road, these robotic pet companions could become a more valuable health asset," [Professor Nancy] Edwards said. "They will record their masters' blood pressure, oxygen levels or heart rhythms."

One manufacturer already is working to include a blood-pressure sensor in its robot, Beck said, so holding the robot does more than just give the "owner" something to cuddle. Other possibilities include alerting a nurses' station if the person does not react to the robot for extended periods, he said.

January 28th, 2006

Bathroom Scales – a Love/Hate Relationship

I feel that most people probably won’t need this, but the Washington Post has published a short feature on how to get the most out of your bathroom scales. According to the report:


Most of us have a love/hate relationship with our bathroom scale: adore it when we get a low reading, curse it when the numbers inch up. Yet we keep stepping up to the plate: 48 percent of us weigh ourselves every day, 44 percent weigh in weekly, and 4 percent once a month, according to research conducted by HoMedics, a leading manufacturer of health and wellness products. Herb Conroy, group marketing manager for HoMedics, says that how we use the scale affects the reliability of readings.

January 19th, 2006



New Breathalyzer - AlcoHawk Slim
Q3 Innovations' new breathalyzer, the AlcoHawk Slim, made its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show, and has attracted some media attention.

PopHomeTech reported:

This handheld device uses a sensitive semiconductor sensor to test blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from .00 to .40 percent. To operate, you simply press the button on the handheld device, wait for the countdown on the screen to reach zero, then blow into the mouthpiece for five seconds. Your BAC reading will appear on the screen within four to five seconds after the breath sample is taken.

According to the Rocky Mountain News:

Have you ever gotten behind the wheel when you maybe shouldn't have? The AlcoHawk Slim digital breathalyzer from Q3 Innovations aims to let you know when you've had too much to drink.

Britain's wrote:

So there was team HEXUS, coherently walking around CES when team HEXUS was confronted by the people from one booth and promptly breathalysed.

Luckily they weren't trying to catch the team out, and indeed levels were within limits. Rather, they were showing off their latest digital breathalyser - the AlcoHAWK Slim. The device is FDA- and DOT-cleared, plus it's easy to use, giving a result in seconds. For the drivers out there it's perhaps a useful device to have. There's no word on UK availability, but its MSRP in the US is $69.95.

January 17th, 2006

Sold Out
I write in this website about body fat monitors, but I don't own one. A Tanita Innerscan Body Composition Monitor that costs $99.99 at goes for $300 in Australia (A$399.95). So I went to my local Aldi supermarket yesterday after they advertised that one of their weekly specials - on sale from yesterday - was a body fat monitor for just A$29.95 ($22.50). I arrived at the store at around 6:00pm. Already they were sold out.
January 13th, 2006



Affordable Luxuries
Forbes magazine has published a list of “affordable luxuries” – goods or services costing less than $200 – for getting fit. According to the report:


You don't need to be wealthy to get healthy. In an age where gym memberships cost hundreds of dollars per year, personal trainers around $100 an hour and state-of-the-art exercise equipment in the thousands, it might strike some readers as unrealistic that $200 will have much impact. Allow us to demure. [The writer presumably means “demur”.]


Among the items selected:


Polar F11 heart rate monitor -


…which not only monitors heart rates but also creates its own workout program that tells wearers how much they need to exercise to reach their goals. A suntanned personal trainer with rock-hard abs can do the same thing, but the F11 only costs $159.


Tanita BC533 body composition monitor -


To help keep track of all that weight you are losing, there are few bigger motivators than a scale, and few scales are as high-tech--and affordable--as the Tanita BC553 Body Composition Monitor, which has a list price of around $120. It not only tells you your weight but also body fat, body water percentage, bone mass, basal metabolic rate, metabolic age and muscle mass.

January 5th, 2006


Oregon Scientific MP121 Waterproof MP3 Player and Pedometer

Oregon Scientific’s new waterproof MP3 player/pedometer has attracted a couple of online reviews, and I’ve placed a short report of these on the site here. The short Gizmodo review is titled “Oregon Scientific’s Wonky MP3 Player,” though is pretty favorable. However, one reader has posted a comment wondering if a swimmer really needs a pedometer. Good point.

January 4th, 2006



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