Withings U-Scan: a urine analysis sensor directly in your toilet

The U-Scan device syncs with the company's Health Mate app to provide useful information on the status of your urine.

Withings U-Scan: a urine analysis sensor directly in your toilet

The U-Scan device syncs with the company's Health Mate app to provide useful information on the status of your urine.

The U-Scan analyzer is designed to be installed in the toilet bowl, giving users hands-free access to urinalysis. Although common in medical settings, urine is a seldom tapped opportunity for home health monitoring. That could change significantly over the next few years if Withings has its way. The company points out that urine contains more than 3000 metabolites, which gives immediate insight into the balance and health of the body.

The rechargeable U-Scan reader knows the difference between rinsing water and urine and ensures that it only collects the samples it needs. When used, urine efficiently flows to a collection inlet, activating a pump when a thermal sensor detects the presence of urine. The sample is guided through a microfluidic circuit and injected into a test pod. There, the reaction is read by an optical sensor and sent back to the application. Each time the toilet is flushed, the system is cleaned, allowing it to be reset for the next sample draw.

In Europe, the U-Scan Nutri Balance app features analysis of specific gravity, pH, vitamin C and ketone levels. The combination of these metrics helps people monitor their metabolic intake to optimize their daily hydration and nutrients. The "actionable" part of it all is that the system can recommend workouts, offer dietary suggestions and recipes - all to help health conscious users achieve their goals. The company points out that Nutri Balance's US functionality may vary, depending on what the FDA has to say about it.

The product will debut in Europe with two different consumer health cartridges. Medical cartridges will follow in the not too distant future. The price is 499.95 euros and includes a U-Scan reader and a cartridge offering three months of tests. The company does not yet know when the device will be available in the United States, as its launch will depend on FDA clearance.

Incredibly, U-Scan can tell the difference between multiple users (and therefore attribute the results to the correct person using the device), thanks to its Stream ID feature. Low-energy radar sensors built into the reader measure multiple variables to identify an individual's "urine flow signature" by detecting flow movement and distance. Stream credentials can be confirmed in the app.

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