Hela Bio: A smartwatch that promises blood glucose measurements, blood pressure tracking and more
The Hela Bio is one interesting smartwatch, if it is indeed real. While a detailed post on r/shittykickstarters explains thoroughly debunks the science behind all variants of the Hela Bio, the company behind the smartwatch has received US$203,876 in crowdfunding on Indiegogo. Supposedly, the Hela Bio can read glucose levels from sweat. According to the manufacturer, the main selling point of the Hela Bio is its '100% pain-free, non-invasive' way of measuring glucose levels. Unsurprisingly, Hela Bio Smart Watch is pitching its smartwatch towards diabetics and athletes.
The Hela Bio is based around replaceable glucose sensors, which come in packs of six for US$78. Each sensor lasts 14 days, so five packs would last you just over a year. Hela claims that the device can monitor your sleep, heart rate and even blood pressure, although there is no SpO2 sensor. Additionally, there is apparently a GPS module, although the device's IP67 certification limits its usefulness somewhat.
There are two versions of the Hela Bio, although they are essentially the same device. The Pro model adds 'wireless' charging, which is not necessarily a Pro feature considering that the Hela Bio is supposed to be a medical device, not an everyday smartwatch. Apparently, the Hela Bio can measure lactic acid levels, although only via a 'Lactate Sensor' that is unavailable to purchase.
Additionally, while the company claims to be based in Berkley, California, the patent cited for measuring blood glucose levels originates in China. Hela does not mention the accuracy of the blood glucose values that it determines either, nor the technology behind it. It is unclear how the sensors cope with humidity changes too or if they will work without having worked up a sweat.
In short, one look at the company's website should set off alarm bells. While over US$200,000 has already been sunk into the Hela Bio smartwatch, we would advise waiting until the company starts delivering units to backers before shelling out at least US$189 on one.