After suffering a stroke due to dehydration, BSX Insight founder and CEO Dustin Freckleton ended up with temporary partial paralysis and a three month stretch of physical therapy learning to walk again. Immediate medical attention kept it from being worse, thankfully, but it was an eye opener. The silver lining was the creation of LVL, the world’s first wearable to measure your hydration level.
While it may not translate to the “party trick” realm, the new LVL Hydration Monitor keeps tabs on your internal water levels and lets you know when it’s time to imbibe. For athletes, it could mean the difference between sailing across the finish line and cramping or worse. For everyone else, it’s a simple reminder that we probably all need to drink more water throughout the day to perform better mentally and emotionally, and it’s as simple as wearing a fitness tracker…and fortunately it measures your activity, too…
The project opened up to early bird sales on Kickstarter just a couple days ago and has already blown past their goal, so it’s funded, but you can still nab one for $99, more than half off the planned $199 MSRP. Chip in and you’ll get a device that measures your hydration levels in real time, including sweat rates to show what you’re losing. It then combines that data with your heart rate from the built in sensors, your activity level and calculated caloric expenditure during both rest and activity to make hydration and refueling recommendations. It even adds in mood, sleep and performance analytics, suggesting how much you need to drink to optimize all three.
First off, why would you need this? If Gatorade commercials are to be believed, as little as 1-2% dehydration can result in significant declines in athletic performance. But, BSX says, we’re pretty lousy judges of our own hydration levels and efforts. And for the general population, it can affect mood, sleep, intellectual performance and even weight – when we’re dehydrated we may think we’re hungry and overeat, but in reality we were probably just thirsty.
So, how does it work? Rather than rely on green lights like current wrist based HR monitors, they developed Red lights that operate at Near Infrared (NIR) wavelengths that see deeper into your arm to measure hydration levels. The bonus is that they also measure your heart rate at a claimed 8x to 10x more accurately than the green lights. The device and its prototypes were tested on more than 250 people and proven to be as accurate as urine, body weight and blood tests, meeting or exceeding the requirements for first responders and the military. Heart rate measurement claims to be within 2.7bpm of actual, compared to a claimed +/-14bpm with other devices, which would make it the most accurate wrist based HR monitor on the market.
The basic data is shown on the band’s OLED screen, and it connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth LE to show more through their app. Battery life is four days with continuous activity, sleep, HR and hydration monitoring. It’s water resistant to IP67 spec and takes just two hours to charge. The app is available for iOS and Android, and their program is an open API, so third party developers can use the info to integrate LVL into their own apps.
It’s available with brown or black leather straps or a silicone sport band. Share the Kickstarter campaign on social media and you can get a limited edition teal band, too. Check it out on Kickstarter, and check our article on the BSX Insight lactate monitor to complete the athletic performance measurements.