Wearables company BSX Technologies announced today that it plans to tackle America’s most underestimated health problem – chronic dehydration – with a wrist-based fitness tracker that accurately measures your real-time hydration levels. LVL (pronounced “Level”) is the first ever wearable fitness device to accurately measure hydration, as well as heart rate, sleep quality, activity, calories and mood, in real-time using a smart sensor with patented red light technology.
I sat down with BSX founder, Dustin Freckleton MD, at Outdoor Retailer earlier this summer to get a preview of the LVL hydration monitor. He said that measuring hydration in real-time was always the company’s end goal, even if they started with the BSXinsight lactate threshold sensor. Close to 75 percent of the American population is in a chronic state of dehydration, which Freckleton learned the hard way during his first year of medical school when, at age 24, he suffered a stroke caused by dehydration. After spending three months recovering from its devastating effects, Freckleton dedicated himself to developing smarter sensing technology for real-time action. The goal was both to prevent others from suffering a similar fate and to help people enjoy the full benefits of staying properly hydrated, including: better sleep, clearer thinking, improved exercise ability, healthier skin, weight reduction and much more.
“One of the major problems with hydration is that we’ve been taught our thirst drive is sufficient,” said Freckleton. “In reality, our body’s natural signals only keep us from running empty. From our work and other peer-reviewed studies, we know that an athlete who is just 1 to 2 percent below the ideal hydration level will suffer from a nearly 6 percent drop in performance. And athletes aren’t the only ones who suffer from dehydration – it can have serious impacts on anyone.”
For the past four years, BSX has been perfecting the technology that eventually became LVL. Unlike wearables currently on the market, which use green light technology, LVL’s red light (or near-infrared light) can look ten times deeper into your body and measure ten times as many physiologic signals simultaneously, all with supreme accuracy. In fact, red light is traditionally used in hospitals for its accuracy and breadth of measurement capabilities.
LVL is capable of tracking your current hydration state as well as measuring the exact volume you need to drink in order to achieve optimal hydration. It then integrates these recommendations with sleep and activity tracking to precisely show the immediate benefits for smarter hydration and the trended improvements that you have experienced over time.
The LVL hydration monitor comes with customizable straps, a full-color touchscreen display, and a smartphone app connected via BLE. You can pre-order your own LVL hydration monitor today over on Kickstarter for 50% off the eventual retail price of $199. BSX LVL will hit shelves sometime early next summer.
I really wish I had this in Sri Lanka last spring as it would have given me advanced warning that I was on the road to dehydration when cycling in such extreme heat. Let’s hope I get one in time for next year’s ride.