Withings Internet Connected Scale

The humble bathroom scale has undergone some changes in the past ten years, with premium models now able to store the details of several users, calculate body fat levels and provide details on how many grams have been lost or gained since the last weigh in.

The Withings scale, however, adds another dimension entirely to these advances – wireless internet connectivity for sharing your health data on the web.
Yes, your nightmare is now real. The whole world can now know weight.

Features

The Withings Internet Connected Scale is, of course, more than “just a scale”. It stores the health details of up to eight users, with each defined as a ‘preset’ according to respective name, height, age and gender information. Each of the eight users will need to be set up on the MyWithings website. Based on these details, it measures not only the weight of each individual, but calculates Body Mass Index (BMI), fat total, and lean mass weight.
All information displays – in your preferred unit of measurement (kilos, pounds and stone) – on the 8cm LCD screen set beneath the scale’s tempered glass surface.
Unique, as far we’re aware, is the in-built Withings inbuilt Wi-Fi capability. This allows it to connect to you computer and, via it, to the internet over your wireless home network. This allows you to upload your data to all manner of places, such as Google Health, a compatible website, Twitter, and anyone else using the MyWithings website such as friends with their own scale.
Your doctor, for instance, could check out how much weight you’ve been losing if either he was using the MyWithings website or you provided him with the public internet link to check your progression.
Even when you’re not connected to the web, the Withings Internet Connected Scale will record and store your vital stats, keeping up to 16 sessions in memory for uploading to a recognised WiFi network when it comes into range.

Performance

Installation for the Withings is a breeze. Simply create an account (free) at the Withings website, download the software, plug in the scale, follow the instructions and you’re done.
You will need a wireless network for the scale to connect to, but once you’ve completed the installation, the scale automatically finds the network each time you’ve used it.
From there, it’s just a matter of standing on the scale like you normally would. Much like the Wii Balance Board, the Withings scale waits until your weight is evenly balanced across its surface, and stable, before grabbing a reading.
Once your weight has been found, it automatically and wirelessly uploads to the Withings online system. At the same time, your Body Mass Index (BMI) is displayed on the screen next to your feet. Other screens may also be displayed, including that of your Lean Mass (the part of you without fat) and Fat Index (the part of you with the fat).
Because the scale seems to rely a lot on pressure, we were able to trick the scale into thinking we held a different weight and were, in effect, a different user. This is something that required us to stand differently on the scale, but provided you stand on the scale the same way you normally would, the Withings should have no problem picking up your profile.
The MyWithings has developed tracks you (and whoever else uses the scale) quite well. The line graph monitoring you progress over times is viewable via your account at the MyWithings website or on your iPhone/iPod Touch via a free iPhone/iPod Touch app.
Your progress is displayed in bright colours over blue backgrounds, and you’ll have boxes detailing your BMI, weight in fat, and lean mass. You can also graph your objectives and track how your actual measurements compare to your goals.
MyWithings provides sharing options with other users of the service (a fitness instructor, for instance, training buddy or your GP), as well as FaceBook. And you can even share your good (or bad) results on Twitter with an automated tweeting service.

Overall

More than a scale, the Withings provides a set of health ‘services’ to you and your family… or up to seven of your closest friends. It’s a (mostly) accurate and convenient tool for you – and concerned professionals – to track your own weight outcomes, and allows you the opportunity to monitor the health of those you may be concerned for, such as elderly relatives or body obsessed teenagers.
At $300, the Withings is no trifling bathroom ornament, of course. It is, however, a fraction of the cost of an annual gym membership and slightly less than a pair of performance sneakers… and a complement to both.