BSX Athletics, a wearable sensor company based in Austin, TX, has developed a wearable that can measure up to 10x deeper than traditional wearable heart-rate monitors. To achieve this, they use red-light sensor technology and software instead of the standard green-light technology. The deeper penetrating red-light sensor is also sensitive enough to measure your hydration level, in real-time. This is an important metric that few companies have tried to collect for a few obvious reasons.
First of all, you have to remain extremely still for red-light sensors to read accurately. Second of all, the time it takes to develop heart-rate software for sensitive red-light sensors is extremely long compared to green-light technology, but it’s nothing compared to the time it takes companies to develop software for reading hydration levels.
On the other hand, green-light sensor technology is straightforward and fairly accurate, even when there is some movement during reading. The downside is that tattoos, skin color, freckles, and other blemishes can severely hurt the accuracy of green-light sensors.
HYBRID RED/GREEN LIGHT
Larger companies like Apple and Garmin have only begun to release wearables with red-light sensors. This is mostly a data-gathering and development feature since they still have green-light sensors as the main source of ACTIVE heart-rate data. Like with Apple, you have two modes that you automatically switch back-and-forth from depending on if you’re in an activity or sitting still.
With BSX Athletics taking almost 5 years in development with the LVL Band, they already have an uphill battle to climb. Luckily, their Kickstarter campaign finished with an impressive $1.1 MIllion from over 7,500 backers. You can still pre-order on their webpage at www.onelvl.com. On the site, they say orders will ship “Summer 2018,” and you have a choice between 4 colors in small or large band sizes.
Anyone familiar with wearables may draw similarities to the Pebble brand. They had a great success with their social media start-up until the big guys (Fitbit, Garmin, Polar) started offering more smartwatch features in their fitness trackers and smartwatch-makers started expanding the fitness features on their devices. Eventually, Pebble and its developers were gobbled up by Fitbit and now you have the “Pebble-like” Fitbit Versa and Ionic.
Whether BSX Athletics’ LVL Fitness Tracker survives or not, they’ve been successful in pushing a new level of health & fitness tracking to the mainstream. With the ability to know exactly how hydrated you are can help you perform at the highest level and can also save your life.