Your Life Online – Withings Scales

Within the pages of this weblog I often mention gadgets that bring together fitness and geekery. Heart rate monitors and GPS devices, fitness training software, Virtual Reality Turbo Trainers and such like.

I like them. I like having such gadgets and I also extol the value of such devices. Not only do they allow me to track my training and exercise and make it more fun, but they also allow me to analyse my progress, and encourage me to get out more just to use them. They also allow me to share my progress and my exercise workouts with others.

I may at times be guilty of ‘too much information’. Not everyone who reads this blog wants to know what my heart was doing whilst riding up the latest hill or how I felt whilst doing hard intervals on the turbo trainer, but to some it’s interesting and sharing my goals and attempts to reach those goals with the wider world helps keep me motivated.

Yesterday whilst doing a turbo trainer workout I was listening to the MacBreak Weekly podcast and they mentioned what has to be the ultimate in geekery meets health and fitness. Some bathroom scales!

Yep, bathroom scales have been getting more and more technical lately. Some pass small electric currents through you and measure body fat, water mass, bone mass and other parameters. Many have memories that allow you to program in different people so that they can record your weight-loss (or gain!). Some even have USB ports or SD cards so that you can transfer this data to your computer, but the WifI Scales from Withings go just that step further.

As their name suggests the Wi-Fi Scales from Withings are Wif-fi- enabled. Every time you weigh yourself, the information is wirelessly transmitted to your wireless access point and uploaded to a web based account. The web dashboard is the extension of your WiFi scale. From any web browser you can log on and see a rich, relevant view of all of your weight data collected by your scale. Pretty clever hey!

iPhone owners (and presumably iPod touch owners) can even download an app for their devices that will give them access to this dashboard on their mobile device. Yep, there’s an app for that!

Web Dashboard

Web Dashboard

The scales themselves look lovely too, (almost Apple-ish in design) with a simple shape composed of a durable tempered glass slab, covered with a layer of metal giving it a deep metallic look. Looking at their website this stylish design and ease of use is carried through to the web-based dashboard as well. The user interface looks really good, offering a rich graphical interface with easy browsing over time and allows you to zoom in on the date ranges of your choice.

The web-based dashboard is of course confidential allowing you to look at your charts and monitor your weight over time. However, if that weren’t enough you can delve into the world of real social media and share your graphs with others. You can even make graphs accessible on a webpage or weblog and best of all automatically publish your weight to Twitter!

Now, this may be going slightly too far, and really could be a case of ‘too much information’. Do my Twitter followers really want to see just how much I weigh every time I get on the scales? Do I really want people to know? And do I want this information published automatically every time I weigh myself?. Maybe not and at first I thought it was just one step too far. But, the more I think about it the more I like the idea! As gadgets go it looks lovely and it has a use. Publishing such data to your weblog or via Twitter would certainly help focus the mind a little and provide an incentive to help you lose weight. I could just imagine sharing such data and using that to really help me keep my weight under control!

At around £120 they aren’t the cheapest scales in the world, but I may just have to save up to get some!

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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