Withings, the brand best known for its smart scales and smart watches, has announced a new product that’s never been seen before.
The BeamO is a palm-sized, at-home monitoring device (or “multiscope”) that can provide a comprehensive view of your heart and lung health. It combines an ECG, which records the rate and rhythm of the heart, with a stethoscope for measuring lung health, a thermometer, and an oximeter, which tests blood oxygen levels.
To use it, you simply hold the BeamO to their forehead or over your heart or lungs, depending on which measurement you want to take. Data is then sent to the Withings app via Wi-Fi, which will be upgraded via a software update to be compatible with the device. The update will also allow Withings’ users to upload details of any medication they are taking, and log side effects.
Measurements from the BeamO will be tracked in the app, which will also provide information explaining what the figures mean, plus actionable advice.
In fact, where smart scales are concerned, the Withings app is one of the best available for this very reason: it doesn’t just display a measurement figure, it explains what that number means.
The BeamO will support multiple profiles in the app, so it can be used by the whole family.
Given that temperature is the only measurement commonly taken at home, Eric Carreel, Founder and President of Withings, hopes that “BeamO will be the thermometer of the future, providing the ability to assess temperature and observe the state of the heart and lungs”.
It’ll also make it possible to take measurements daily, or as needed, and track health stats over time.
In addition, users will be able to share data with their health provider, making remote appointments more accurate and useful.
A full set of measurements will take less than a minute to complete, and users will be alerted to fever or any cardiovascular issues, including atrial fibrillation – though this is subject to FDA approval in the US. The ECG capabilities will also need FDA approval in the US.
One thing that may come as a surprise is the price, which is lower than you might think. The BeamO will cost £199.95 in the UK and $249.95 in the US and is expected to launch this summer, in June.
For context, Withings’ top-flight smart scale, the Body Scan, retails for £349.95/$399.95. The Body Scan also features an ECG, as well as taking several other body composition measurements. You can read our review of Withings’ most expensive scale to find out more.
If you’re wondering whether the BeamO will catch on, the popularity of the much pricier Body Scan suggests it has the potential to grab people’s interest.
As you’d expect, the BeamO is packed with tech to make these measurements possible. There are light-based Photoplethysmography sensors and electrodes along the sides for the blood oxygen and heart rate readings. But the device is rated as a 1-lead ECG, compared to the Body Scan’s 6-lead, which means it’s not nearly as sensitive as Withings’ smart scale.
A user’s temperature is taken via a scan of the temporal artery; the tech is an upgraded version of Withings’ existing Thermo device.
Finally, the stethoscope measures chest or back sounds using a Piezoelectric disc and sounds can be heard through headphones (the device features a USB-C to jack adaptor) or transferred to the app. It sounds like there might be a bit of a learning curve to taking this last measurement: Withings says that the app will contain “tutorials” to help users take “precise heart and lung measurements”.
But is this the future of at home health testing? Only time will tell.
If you’re interested in a Withings smart scale, we’ve got advice on whether to go for the Body Scan, the Body Comp or the Body Smart.
And if you want Withings tech in watch form, see our reviews of the ScanWatch 2 and ScanWatch Light.