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Healbe finally releases lab data for its notorious GoBe calorie-tracking wristband

Jon Phillips | July 21, 2014
It's not the independent, peer-reviewed study that wearable watchers have been waiting for, but Healbe has published lab test data that indicates its GoBe activity-tracking wristband can automatically divine the calories in the food we eat with an error rate of +/-13.5 percent.

A fully peer-reviewed study — published in exacting detail — would eliminate skepticism surrounding this wearable that's been skewered by myself, and absolutely savaged by PandoDaily's James Robinson. But for now, all we have is a 470-word blog post that reports Healbe's self-conducted findings, and doesn't penetrate into any defensible level of detail. For example: What exact types of food were subjects eating? And why not publish raw data instead of a broad, top-line summary? And why not publish a quote from a medical expert that says, in effect, "I tested it, and it works!"?

I remain extremely skeptical of Healbe's claims, but I'm also resigned to the likelihood that a relatively accepting consumer populace will be perfectly OK with a 13.5 percent margin of error should that particular claim prove to be legit. After all, today's simple activity trackers report wildly different step counts, and can disagree by more than 20 percent when you're wearing two different trackers on the very same wrist.

Yet the activity tracking wristband is still a product category vested with a large degree of legitimacy.

Of course, if you think you've walked 12,000 steps when you've only walked 10,000, that's not really a health risk. But if you're obese and calorie tracking is paramount, wild disagreements between fact and fiction are a much more serious matter indeed.

Healbe says the GoBe will ship to Indiegogo backers in August, and will be available sale in October. So stay tuned for my own independent report.

 

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