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Withings announces ‘breakthrough’ in-home smart urine lab for nutrition and cycle tracking

For its CES announcement this year, Withings has revealed a “breakthrough” in-home biomarker analysis platform. Named U-Scan, the upcoming smart health product is touted as a “miniaturized health lab” that hygienically rests in any toilet to “unlock the wealth of health information in daily urine.”

Withings’ U-Scan has already been nominated a CES 2023 Innovation Award honoree in the Smart Home, Fitness & Sports, and Digital Health categories.

Here’s how the company describes the new smart health platform:

“With more than 3000 metabolites, urine is an extraordinary witness to assess and monitor one’s health. It gives an immediate snapshot of the body’s balance and is integral in monitoring and detecting a wide variety of health information. While we urinate on average 7 times a day, urine analyzes are usually performed only once a year. Withings U-Scan aims to change that by making it possible in the future to conduct biomarker assessments from the comfort and privacy of a person’s own bathroom.”

As shown above, U-Scan is made up of a technology-packed pebble-shaped reader that works with changeable analysis cartridges that read specific biomarkers. That removes the need for traditional strips or catching urine in a cup.

Along with the hardware, Withings is planning to offer U-Scan Nutri Balance which it describes as a “detailed metabolic guide to hydration and nutrition” and U-Scan Cycle Sync “for women’s monthly cycle tracking and syncing.”

Withings U-Scan launch

Withings will launch the consumer version of U-Scan first with a medical-grade model planned for the future.

The U-Scan launch is slated for Europe in Q2 2023 with the starter kit priced at €499.95. That includes one cartridge that lasts three months with the option to buy more as you wish or subscribe to an automatic refill subscription.

The company is working with the FDA on clearance in the US with a launch date pending approval.

Check out our Withings reviews for more on its Apple Health-supported products:

Read more on how U-Scan works from Withings:

Easy as 1, 2, Pee – How it Works

While easy to use, U-Scan overcomes a myriad of technical and chemical challenges. Developed with in-vitro diagnostic experts, it was four years in the making and resulted in 13 patent application families. As a complete system, U-Scan performs three tasks:

  1. Automated Sample Capture – using a sophisticated reader within a toilet bowl

Just 90 mm in diameter, the rechargeable U-Scan reader is engineered to distinguish between external liquid and urine and automatically funnel samples for analysis. Urine flows efficiently to a collection inlet thanks to its pebble-shaped design. A pump is activated when a thermal sensor detects the presence of urine, which starts a sample’s fluidic journey within a microfluidic circuit.

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

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

  1. Biomarker Analysis within a miniaturized urine lab tailored to specific use cases

The rotating cylindrical U-Scan cartridge is a tiny chemical assessment chamber containing dozens of miniaturized test pods that can deliver reliable results.

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

The module system is purposely designed to allow Withings to continually develop and support the analysis of biomarkers associated with various medical and health conditions. Combined with measurements from Withings’ ecosystem, U-Scan will create even more insights for users and is an exciting tool to potentially help prevent diseases, improve quality of life, and reduce healthcare costs.

  1. Actionable Advice – science-backed guided insights

The accompanying Withings app provides results, actionable insights, and guidance designed to help people build habits for enhanced wellness. In Europe, the U-Scan Cycle Sync results will appear in the Withings app that becomes a central place for cycle tracking, coaching, and journaling. It will show cycle predictions and ovulation window based on hormonal detection alongside key hydration and dietary biomarkers, specific gravity and pH levels to help women manage every aspect of their cycle. U-Scan Cycle Sync is under development in the USA; its features will be announced when the solution becomes available following FDA clearance in the future.

In Europe, the U-Scan Nutri Balance app shows analysis of specific gravity, pH, vitamin C and ketone levels. It helps people monitor their metabolic intake to optimize their daily hydration and nutrients. As well as displaying results such as carb balance and pH levels, it recommends workouts, dietary suggestions, and recipes to achieve identified goals. U-Scan Nutri Balance is under development in the USA; its features will be announced when the solution becomes available following FDA marketing clearance in the future.

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