February 28, 2024

Tech Gadgets Medical

Tech Gadgets Medical, Satisfies The Need

Withings’ new ‘multiscope’ combines four health gadgets into one

Withings always shows up to CES with a futuristic health tech device in tow, and this year is no different. The company’s latest gadget is the $249.95 BeamO, a so-called multiscope that measures your temperature, takes electrocardiograms, reads blood oxygen levels, and works as a stethoscope to monitor heart and lung health.

The device itself resembles some of Withings’ other contactless thermometers, but it contains photoplethysmography (PPG) sensors, electrodes, a digital stethoscope, and a second-gen version of the infrared temperature sensor in the Withings Thermo. You’re probably more familiar with PPG sensors as the green LED you find in most smartwatches that measure heart rate by shining light into the skin. The sides of the BeamO also have electrodes to enable EKG readings for atrial fibrillation detection.

Like Withings’ Thermo thermometer, the BeamO will take contactless temperature readings from the temporal artery.
Image: Withings

But more interesting is how Withings has managed to stick a stethoscope into the mix. It does this by including a piezoelectric disc. The gist is the disc captures acoustic noise from your chest or back and then converts it into an electric signal that can be read by the BeamO. (This is how many electronic stethoscopes work.) The device also has a USB-C to headphone jack adaptor so you can listen in before transferring the audio to the Withings app. In telehealth sessions, you can also stream the audio directly to your provider.

These are all measurements that you can already take at home. You could buy a stethoscope, infrared thermometer, and pulse oximeter, and many smartwatches have similar single-lead EKG functions. Many wearables already let you save your data in PDFs that can be shared with doctors. The novel thing here is condensing them all into a single device that can be shared within a family.

The BeamO is a 4-in-1 device that measures temperature and blood oxygen levels and takes EKG readings. It also doubles as a stethoscope.
Image: Withings

Of course, there are some other factors at play, too. The EKG and AFib detection features will need to undergo the FDA clearance process. Withings says in its press release that it expects the BeamO to go on sale in June this year, but if I had a dollar for every time a health tech company failed to hit their initial FDA clearance estimates, I’d be a millionaire.

Withings in particular has had so-so luck with announcing a gadget at CES and getting timely FDA clearance. It introduced its Move ECG watch at CES 2019, but that product never actually made it to the US. At CES 2020, it introduced the ScanWatch, which also had EKG testing and sleep-related SpO2 monitoring features. However, it took the watch nearly two years to actually go on sale in the US. Meanwhile, the company announced the Withings Body Scan, a smart scale with EKG features, at CES 2022, but it took until August 2023 to get FDA clearance. We’re still waiting on the U-Scan, the at-home urinalysis device Withings brought out for CES 2023.

In any case, Withings has clearly invested a lot of resources in the past few years in building out its at-home health platform. The BeamO is just the latest entry in that ecosystem. It just might take a hot second before Withings can fully realize its telehealth vision.

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