Imagine getting health data by carrying out a bodily function you do multiple times a day: urinating. Soon you’ll be able to do just that — with the U-Scan, a sensor that attaches to your toilet bowl and analyzes your urine each day you use it. Withings unveiled the censor this week during CES 2023, the world’s largest consumer tech trade show.
Anyone who’s ever offered up a urine sample at a doctor’s office knows that urine can tell us important things about our health: if we’re dehydrated, if we’re pregnant, if we have an infection and even the health of some of our organs. Withings is homing in on some of these biomarkers with two different versions of its consumer device, available in Europe in the first half of 2023, with plans for US availability following clearance by the US Food and Drug Administration.
One cartridge made for the U-Scan is meant to monitor nutrition and metabolic information by measuring ketone and vitamin C levels, and testing your urine’s pH (low or high pH can be associated with kidney health and more).
The second is made for people who want to better track their menstrual cycles, by measuring surges of LH, or luteinizing hormone. LH peaks when ovulation is right around the corner and fertility is likely highest. This cycle cartridge will also measure urine pH.
At-home urine test strips have already been available to track things like LH surges and ketone levels. And urine tests such as Vivoo’s also pair with an app to give people more insight into their health and education on what measurements may mean. But these are more hands-on than the attach-and-go sensors Withings has developed.
“You don’t think about it and you just do what you do every day,” Withings CEO Mathieu Letombe told CNET.
To use it, Withings says the device works best if you attach it to the front of your toilet bowl (which means people who normally pee standing up might also have to sit, or at least get creative). Urine will flow to a small collection inlet, which the company says can differentiate between urine and external liquid, such as toilet water. A thermal sensor detects the presence of urine, and it’s moved to a test pod. When the analysis is finished, waste is released from the device and disappears with a flush.
Results will be routed to your phone via Wi-Fi, and you can read your health insights daily on the Withings’ Health Mate app.
The device contains a cartridge filled with test strips that’ll last you roughly three months. Oh, and the sensor will be able to tell your “stream” apart from that of visitors, because the U-Scan is able to differentiate based on the “distance and speed of the flow,” Letombe said.
Because it is not cleared by the FDA in the US yet, there is no price point for the U-Scan right now. You’ll be able to get either the U-Scan Nutri Balance or Cycle Sync cartridges — or both if you want to get even more data — in Europe for 500 euros (approximately $527 at present) later this year. Withings is confident that the first two consumer sensors are just the beginning: The company has hopes for more medical devices in the future, adding to the long list of smartwatches, wearable sensors and other devices that funnel our health into data points.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.