University student develops handheld body composition tracker

By Arden Youn, Staff Writer

It will soon be easier to track body mass at home, thanks to Douglass Lee, senior in business and co-founder of the company One Softdigm. They have developed a handheld device that can measure body composition. Their work was driven by current health issues and trends in the U.S.

On average, 1 of 3 people in the U.S. are obese and 60 percent are considered overweight. 

The device, called One SmartDiet, allows users to accurately and easily measure their body composition at home or on-the-go.

Before One SmartDiet was created, the only tool capable of measuring body composition accurately was limited to those available in hospitals and clinics. 

These devices are usually too expensive or too bulky for regular household use. 

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The device is paired with a free mobile app, which stores the data collected. One SmartDiet allows users to track their body composition and to check it frequently. This is a great tool for those who can’t visit the doctor often or for those who like to stay up- to-date on their health.

“The only technology available for measuring this is through BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis), so that’s why we came up with this portable device,” Lee said.

One SoftDigm’s inspiration stemmed from the Korean government’s request. In Korea, the government releases an annual proposal that specifies needed developments in different fields. Lee, with interests in engineering and business, took the initiative to start working on an on-the-go, easy-to-use body composition measurement device.

“We made the project into a product that people can use easily,” Lee said. 

Lee began working on this project in 2015, when the proposal was released.

One SmartDiet

One SmartDiet is a device that uses BIA. Users are instructed to pinch circular electrical nodes on the device to send electrical currents through their fingertips. This transmission of electricity begins the measurement process.

“The body’s cells create friction called impedance, so it loses the voltage as it goes through the body. Whatever voltage is left returns to the device and the calculations come back accordingly,” Lee said. 

These calculations and results are then viewable on the mobile app.

According to the Doylestown Hospital, BIA is used with a low level, imperceptible electrical current. This flow is affected by the water content within the body and the measurement comes from how the signal is impeded through tissue.

“Tissues that contain large amounts of fluid and electrolytes, such as blood, have high conductivity, but fat and bone slow the signal down,” according to an article published by Doylestown Health, titled, “Bio-Electrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)- Body Mass Analysis.”

The results provide an estimate of the body fat based on the water in the body.

“The problem that we are focused on solving is that one in three people are considered overweight,” Lee said. “One of the main problems is that a lot of people are misinformed on how to stay healthy. From our point of view, being healthy is not about how much you weigh, but your body composition.”

One SmartDiet has already been released and is available for purchase in the U.S., Korea and the Netherlands.

One SoftDigm has sold over 3,000 units worldwide. In addition to One SmartDiet, Lee and his associates have designed another product that will take this technology to another level. It will be launched in April and is called Fitrus.

The next level

The Fitrus device includes all of the features of the One SmartDiet device and more. Using BIA, Fitrus measures the user’s body composition, but also includes electrical engineering and personal consumption expenditure technology.

These additional features enable the device to measure heart rate, skin temperature, oxygen saturation, stress index, caloric intake and step counts.

Lee recently moved to Silicon Valley in San Jose, California, in hopes of continuing and strengthening the success of One SoftDigm’s products.

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