World’s first hands-free connected home urine lab created IoT News

Withings, a connected health specialist, has developed U-Scan, which it describes as a breakthrough in-house biomarker analysis platform.

One of the company’s most technologically advanced devices to date, the U-Scan is a miniaturized health lab that sits hygienically inside any toilet to unlock the wealth of health information in daily urine.

Four years in the making, the device has already been recognized by the Consumer Technology Association as a CES 2023 Innovation Award winner in three categories: Smart Home, Fitness & Sports, and Digital Health. With more than 3,000 metabolites, urine is an extraordinary witness to assess and monitor human health.

It provides an instant image of the body’s balance and is integral in monitoring and detecting a wide range of health information. While we urinate on average seven times a day, urinalysis is usually done once a year. The Withings U-Scan aims to change that in the future by making it possible to assess biomarkers from the comfort and privacy of one’s own bathroom.

A game changer in home health, U-Scan is designed to be a versatile platform consisting of a technologically advanced pebble-shaped reader and variable assay cartridges designed to assess specific biomarkers without the need for external sampling or strips. Then, with seamless synchronization with the Withings Health Mate app, it will provide a wealth of actionable information based on daily readings.

It will debut in Europe in the future with two consumer health cartridges with medical versions. These include U-Scan Cycle Sync for tracking and synchronizing women’s monthly cycles and U-Scan Nutri Balance, a detailed metabolic guide for hydration and nutrition. The Withings U-Scan is being developed in the US and won’t be available until it receives FDA approval.

In addition, Withings Health Solutions, the company’s business unit serving the healthcare market, makes the technology available to partners for research purposes.

Mathieu Letombe, CEO of Withings, said: “U-Scan’s ability to perform daily urinalysis at home will enable Withings to fulfill its mission to help consumers take full advantage of their urine data to a whole new level.

“This is one of the most exciting and sophisticated products we’ve ever announced. We are starting this journey with U-Scan Cycle Sync and Nutri Balance and look forward to continuously announcing more cartridges and medical applications of the technology.”

As a complete system, U-Scan performs three tasks:

1) Automated Sampling – using an ink reader inside the toilet bowl

Only 90 mm in diameter, the rechargeable U-Scan reader is designed to distinguish between external fluid and urine and automatically funnel samples for analysis. Thanks to its pebble-shaped design, urine flows efficiently into the collection inlet. When the thermal sensor detects the presence of urine, the pump is activated, which begins the fluid journey of the sample within the microfluidic circuit.

After collection, the urine sample is injected into a test container where the chemical reaction is read by an optical module. At the end of each measurement, the circuit returns to idle and the remaining liquid is purged through the waste outlet. The system is subsequently cleaned with each flush.

U-Scan can distinguish between different users thanks to its Stream ID feature. Low-energy radar sensors embedded in the reader measure multiple variables to determine an individual’s urine flow signature by detecting the movement and distance of the stream. Stream ID information can be verified in the app.

2) Biomarker Analyzes – in a miniaturized urine laboratory adapted to specific use cases

The rotating cylindrical U-Scan cartridge is a small chemical evaluation chamber containing dozens of miniaturized test boxes that can provide reliable results.

When the reader delivers the sample to the injection point, the U-Scan begins chemical analysis in moments. It automatically transmits the Patented cartridge results via Wi-Fi and then rotates the cartridge to eject the next test pod to the injection point. Each cartridge is designed to support up to three months of readings.

The modular system is purpose-built to enable Withings to continuously develop and support the analysis of biomarkers associated with various medical and health conditions. Combined with measurements from the Withings ecosystem, U-Scan will generate more data for users and is potentially an exciting tool to prevent disease, improve quality of life and reduce healthcare costs.

3) Actionable Advice – guiding concepts backed by science

The accompanying Withings app provides results, actionable insights and guidance designed to help people create habits for enhanced health. In Europe, U-Scan Cycle Sync results will appear in the Withings app, becoming a central location for cycling tracking, training and journaling. It will show cycle predictions and ovulation window based on hormonal detection along with key hydration and dietary biomarkers, specific gravity and pH levels to help women manage every aspect of their cycle. Full information on U-Scan Cycle Sync is available here. U-Scan Cycle Sync is under development in the US; its specifics will be announced in the future when the solution becomes available after FDA clearance.

In Europe, the U-Scan Nutri Balance cartridge will allow analysis of specific gravity, pH, vitamin C and ketone levels. It helps people track their metabolic intake to optimize daily hydration and nutrients. In addition to showing results such as carbohydrate balance and pH levels, it also recommends exercises, diet suggestions and recipes to achieve set goals. Full information about U-Scan Balance is available here. U-Scan Nutri Balance is in development in the US; its properties will be announced in the future when the solution becomes available after FDA marketing clearance.

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Tags: analysis, health

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