a stressed mind in a quantified body?


The connected Circular Ring shines under its glass dome, but under this appearance of precious jewel, hide micro-sensors capable of measuring more than 140 physical parameters, from respiratory rate to body temperature.

Many start-ups present this week at CES in Las Vegas, the annual consumer electronics show, promise ever finer biometric analyzes, measured by increasingly discreet and easy-to-use devices.

« We want to democratize personal health », assures Amaury Kosman, founder of the French start-up Circular.

An objective shared by many exhibitors, at a time when the pandemic has popularized telemedicine and sport in his living room. But some experts worry about the other side of the coin: the potential risks of stress or addiction.

“During the day, the ring detects the intensity of your activity. We have an energy score based on your heart rate, your oxygenation rate in the blood, temperature variations and other data,” explains M Kosman.

« At night, it goes on: we track the phases of sleep, how long it takes you to fall asleep, if you are aligned with your circadian rhythm, etc. And in the morning it vibrates to wake you up at the right time », explains -it, two months before the pre-sales of the ring, which will cost less than 300 euros.

The boss assures him, it is not a question of flooding the user with incomprehensible raw data. The algorithm of the mobile application is responsible for translating them in the form of personalized recommendations.

– No more needles –

The demand is undeniable: tens of millions of people have already placed their bodies under partial or continuous surveillance.

In 2022, the sector of connected objects for health and sport will represent more than $ 14 billion in spending, forecasts the CTA, which organizes the CES.

This is more than double that of 2018. Growth is driven by watches like those from Apple or Samsung (more than $ 7 billion expected for this year), connected sports equipment which exploded during the pandemic, but also tracking devices.

On the health side, companies want to make instruments long reserved for medical practices accessible to as many people as possible and also facilitate remote consultations.

The Swiss Biospectal and the French Quantiq, for example, use the camera of smartphones. The first proposes to measure blood pressure by placing his finger on the objective, to fight against hypertension on a large scale.

The second is developing algorithms that calculate, in a selfie, the heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure.

The Japanese start-up Quantum Operation has designed a prototype bracelet that continuously measures the level of glucose in the blood. Diabetic patients would then no longer need needles.

Medical innovations can respond to real needs, but the line is blurred with practices relating to the « quantified self », which consist in measuring all kinds of physical indicators for health or well-being objectives.

– « Dependencies » –

The South Korean Olive Healthcare presented its latest portable infrared scanners: « Bello » analyzes abdominal fat (and makes recommendations for losing it) while Fitto looks at muscle mass (and ways to increase it). ).

“As a society, we have to ask ourselves if these tools solve problems or if they give rise to new dependencies,” notes Nils-Eyk Zimmermann, a German political scientist specializing in the “digital self”.

“We create a digital representation of ourselves that doesn’t necessarily correspond to reality,” he adds.

An image that can be positive, but also negative, even stressful, if the user regularly hears that he is not moving enough.

« I don’t think that’s too much info. We are able to handle it, » said Paul Buckley, sales director for Withings in the United States.

It refers to Body Scan, the connected scale unveiled by this French company at CES. She plans to « transform the morning weigh-in into a real proactive health routine, » the statement said.

Its retractable handle with electrodes performs an electrocardiogram and analyzes the body composition of each part of the body in detail.

The base takes care of nerve activity, in order to detect possible warning signs of diabetes.

« When people go to the doctor, he doesn’t necessarily tell them everything, » Buckley points out. « Now you will be able to make daily changes because you will be better informed about what is going on in your body. »

juj / jul / dax / mav





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