The Withings U-Scan Has a Thankless Job

A Withings U-Scan in a demonstration toilet.

Withings, a company known for its smart health and fitness products, has revealed a new piece of technology at CES 2023: a miniature urine analysis lab dubbed the “U-Scan” that clips into your toilet.

What your body expels as waste is often quite revealing, and its why urine analysis is used diagnostically for an untold number of medical conditions. Withings is attempting to tap into that resource to enable people to make more informed decisions about their health without needing to visit a doctor.

There are currently two distinct cartridges you can use with the U-Scan. One, named U-Scan Nutri Balance, analyzes things like specific gravity (a measure of hydration), pH, vitamin C concentrations, and ketone levels. The other, the U-Scan Cycle Sync, is designed for menstrual tracking. Besides specific gravity and pH, the U-Scan Cycle Sync is capable of monitoring your hormones. Each cartridge is expected to last several months without needing replacement, and the fact that cartridges are replaceable leaves room for additional functions to be incorporated into the U-Scan in the future.

The U-Scan then transmits the data it collects about biomarkers in your urine to your smartphone over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, where it is analyzed. The associated Health Mate app is capable of making individualized recommendations about your hydration levels, diet, menstrual cycle, and exercise habits based on the collected data.

The Withings U-Scan is awaiting regulatory approval in the United States, but is slated for European release in the middle of 2023.

The U-Scan is not a substitute for a detailed lab analysis performed at a medical facility, but regular surveillance can be useful for establishing a baseline for comparison or spotting an emerging issue early. At the very least, it is thought that adequate hydration is linked to a lower risk of developing chronic illness, and there is certainly no harm in a friendly reminder to drink more water.

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