This is a good idea, as it enables people to gain some deep insight into what happens in their body. It would be good to know if we are feeling signs of dehydration, and what our lean mass is on a regular basis.
It comes in two forms: a standalone band, and the version I’m testing that replaces the strap on your Apple Watch. The aura strap cannot connect directly to the watch, taking readings is a bit more involved. You open the app on your watch, and then press a button on the side of the strap hardware. Then you need to make a circuit with your opposite hand, which pushes the fleshy part of your palm between the two contacts to the thumb (aberrant polis brevis, anatomy enthusiast). The strap hardware then emits a dialup-modem-esque sound, which your watch microphone picks up and analyzes.
This information flies across all iOS apps, displaying the percentage (and calculated) weight of each data point. For example, the reading I took told me that I am 47.1 percent hydrated, 50 percent muscle and 34 percent fat. Don’t worry math fans, they are not meant to add up to 100 figures.
Aura says that the clock cannot be completely relied on accurate day-to-day measurements and instead asks you to look at the “long-term trend”. Simply put, don’t start waving those figures in front of a doctor, but if the numbers start going up or down – you can count on them. And this is where the strap falls slightly down, because those figures can vary greatly depending on how you measure.
This is, as company representatives told me, an issue in both training people is to make better use of the device and ensure that the system is receiving accurate measurements. Aura says that an update, pushed in the next few weeks, will greatly improve accuracy and help filter out poor measurements. And, adequately, we have to come back to this in the future and see if things improve dramatically.
What’s less compelling is that app users don’t seem very interested or capable of communicating these things. Depending on your age and weight, you should regularly aim for (very roughly) about 50 percent hydration levels. So when the application tells me I’m 37.1 percent, or 67.5 percent hydrated, it should definitely slow me down a bit when grabbing a drink or in the latter case.
I would say that knowing what my potential lean mass might be, and that working towards the goal, is a good motivator. But in an ideal world, it would be nice if the device on my wrist could monitor in real time, instead of performing a routine task of completing it. The fact that those measurements, too, bounce around a little too much reduces my confidence in the product.
I will return to this device when the update is pushed, but for now, I’m not sure if it’s a piece of gear that someone really needs. Winky’s stats and a less-than-perfect mobile app make me feel like one should do a little more refinement before investing. But, if you want to try it for yourself, you can purchase the lease here for $ 119, with shipping on September 30.