On the Scales

Our bathroom scales gave up the ghost recently. Well, so would you if you had me standing on you every couple of days for ten years. But replacing them gave us a wonderful opportunity for consumer overkill. Not for us a simple set of mechanical scales. No, we bought the Tanita BC-543 Body Composition Monitor. Because you can never have too much data about how overweight you are.

The Body Composition Monitor isn’t actually as complex as you think. You tell it your age, sex and height and it measures your weight and your body fat percentage. I think it measures your body fat by pushing a small electric charge into your heels and measuring your body’s resistance. Armed with this data it then gives you a barrage of information about your body and its imperfections.

But I reckon they’ve missed a couple of tricks.

Firstly, nowhere in the mass of information does it include your BMI. Now I know that BMI isn’t a particularly useful measure, but it’s certainly popular and they have all the information they need to calculate it.

But it’s the second omission that has me thinking. Tanita have a web site where users of their equipment can input data and track their health. But that’s all too much like hard work. You need to write down the numbers that you get from the monitor, go to a computer, log into the site and then type in all the numbers. Where’s the fun in that? We have computers to do all that drudgery for us.

What they should be doing is putting a wireless networking connection in all their products. Then when the monitor is used, it can use the local wireless network to transmit the data directly to the web site. None of that tedious transcription with its potential for errors (or for cheating). Each time you stand on the scales, your data is instantly available on the web site. It’s a lazy person’s dream. And let’s face it, anyone who is using one of these to monitor their weight is very likely to be a lazy person.

I shouldn’t be blogging about this. I should be running off to the patent office. Or, at the very least, writing code.

One comment

  1. I assume it doesn’t have a BMI because your BMI is not at all something you really should be measuring to see how fit you are because it actively discriminates against people with more body muscle than fat (as muscles have greater mass than fat, but don’t make you any taller..)

    By providing the BMI it would be urinating in the direction of the nearest breeze against the actual need for the fat measuring feature.

    Re uploading your data…surely this should have happened years ago with JINI? I for one welcome our new Java enabled scale overloads. Just as long as no-one links it up to my Java enabled fridge that is…

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