Healbe’s Calorie Counting Activity Tracker On Pace To Break Indiegogo Record


Moscow, Russia-based activity tracker startup Healbe has raised $500,000 just one week into its Indiegogo campaign, shattering its $100,000 goal in just one day, and putting it on pace to pass Canary’s record-setting $1.9 million campaign total by the time its campaign is over.

Driving the excitement is Healbe’s wrist-worn fitness tracker the “GoBe” which, the company claims, can passively track just about anything, including caloric intake, activity, caloric output, sleep patterns, hydration levels, stress levels, and heart rate. The key metric though, is caloric intake. To date, no technology has been able to accurately measure caloric intake, and dieters are still required to maintain a food journal if they want to accurately count calories. Healbe claims to have thrown down the gauntlet with its tracker, which it says uses “FLOW Technology” to passively track caloric intake by reading “the glucose in your skin – through your cells.”

Healbe’s spectacular claims are raising eyebrows across the industry, and big names in the tech reporting world, like Tech Crunch, GigaOM, and VentureBeat are staying away from the story altogether. To shed some light on the topic, Healbe CEO Artem Shipitsin answered some questions for HIStalk Connect in a short interview.

Your website states that “FLOW Technology counts calories by monitoring glucose levels in your blood through your skin.” What technology does this rely on? Optical Spectroscopy – or something new?

We using an old competitor of the optical approach – impedance, or full resistant. It’s not a new method, but a new idea of using this method. We did not try to build a mathematical correlation between sugar in the blood and resistance, instead we built a real physiological model and after inserted in this model our measurements.

How accurate is GoBe at measuring calories compared to traditional diary methods?

The accuracy of caloric intake measurements is 88-92 percent, on average. To test, we conducted a comparison in two stages. First, users were given a meal. Then we used standard nutritionist tables to calculate calories consumed. We then compared that with GoBe caloric intake measurement. We also measured the level of glucose via usual invasive glucometer and compared those results with GoBe’s glucose result.

Are the glucose readings accurate enough to be used by diabetics for early warning glucose alerts?

In general – yes, we have had tests with diabetics of both type and we had a very good results, but right now we don’t want to offer this function to the market for many reasons…We are launching our range of products from GoBe – this is a fitness-tracker, which is not a medical device, and does not replace a traditional glucometer.

Last November, a small Canadian startup called Airo claimed to have invented a similar calorie-counting activity tracker. The company was based out of the University of Waterloo and cited research on optical spectroscopy as the underlying technology that powered the device. However, just a month later, the company acknowledged that it had not validated the accuracy of the tracker yet, and shortly after cancelled all pre-orders and refunded all its donors money.

Healbe will find itself in a more difficult position should it have to cancel its campaign. Indiegogo provides no simple way of reimbursing contributors if a campaign goes sour. It’s website explains, “We are unable to cancel your campaign or issue mass refunds for any campaign that has raised funds. If you are unable to go ahead with your project or fulfill your perks for any reason, we suggest reaching out to your contributors directly to issue any refunds from the funds we disburse to you.” With $500,000 raised in its first week, from 2,500 contributors, it will be a tall order to individually refund each of those donations. 

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