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September 19, 2016

A wearable that tells you how much water you should drink!

A new wearable fitness tracker tells you exactly when you need water. " Even if you drink eight glasses of water a day, you still might not be properly hydrated." This is the message that Dr. Dustin Freckleton gets out to the public with his new product, the LVL band.

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This bracelet uses infrared light to measure your hydration level and gives you advice on the amount of water you need to stay healthy. Freckleton found his inspiration to develop this band, because he had a stroke during his medical studies because of severe dehydration.

And even at the healthy age of 25, he needed three months of physical therapy to walk again. He decided that he thought it was more important to alert people to the negative effects of hydration; poor sleep, poor cognitive function and at worst disability, instead of becoming a doctor after he finished his studies successfully.

"When we explain that we do not only measure with LVL band, but we also address the problems, the reaction of most people is ‘oh, that’s what I need’." Your eyes use light to create an image, so does the LVL. It shines infrared into your body. Once that comes back in the band, is forms a spectroscopic image, a fingerprint from inside your blood. The software in the band analyzes the information in order to measure certain biometric characteristics such as heart rate and level of hydration.

Advice based on behavioural patterns

The LVL gives small vibrations all day when the hydration level in your body is too low. The band tells an app on your smartphone the exact hydration level and advises you how much water you need at that moment. The app learns as you wear it longer when you exercise and sleep, and bases its opinions on your behaviour.

Most fitness trackers use green light to measure data, but according to Freckleton’s that light does not get far enough into the body and is easily absorbed by it, so the measurements are not accurate and allows too much room for error. The LVL uses LED technology, because this penetrates ten times further into the body more easily and transmits data back to the device. "The technique is not new, but the way we use it is," said Freckleton.

Hospitals have been using infrared for years to accelerate the healing of burn victims. Even Olympic athletes use it to recover faster because it helps regenerate cells quicker so they can go onto the field again much faster. According to Freckleton Apple and Garmin also change to infrared in some products because they realize how much better the measurement is.

The company BSX started its research on infrared about five years ago. Thousands of people voluntarily stepped into the "Sweat Lab" from BSX. The participants were continuously scanned using blood and urine samples which was compared to the data from the LVL band.

Drink now, profit later

The results show that the band is very accurate. The measurements differed only 0.32% from the measurements in the lab. Also, the heart measurements showed about the same results. According to Freckleton the results are so precise that they can predict how much better you’ll perform later when you take a certain amount of water now. "That’s how smart our algorithms are," said Freckleton.

"Before a person goes to sleep, the device can tell you that your sleep will be better for 23% if you drink water now." He adds that the ability of LVL band to provide specific recommendations is not the ultimate goal. Ordinary people often need help in interpreting all those random numbers.

Freckleton admits there are challenges in convincing people that they need to wear a tracker to prevent dehydration. People, and especially the elderly should enough and of course drink when they are thirsty. "But the LVL uses the information, puts it into action and you’ll profit from it", Said Freckleton.

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