What does Impeto Medical’s acquisition by Withings tell us about the future of smart scales?

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2022 begins very well for Withings. After the announcement during the CES of their new Body Scan scale that opens the door to personal connected stations, the French company announced on January 12 the acquisition of the technology and patents of Impeto Medical.

The price was not disclosed, but it must have been a good deal considering that Impeto Medical was under a legal protection procedure.

Interestingly, this new technological acquisition tells us quite a bit about Withings strategy and where digital scales in general and consumer digital health devices may be heading shortly.

What about Impeto Medical technological assets?

Impeto Medical was founded in 2005 and focused on developing sensors and algorithms to detect sweat function. The production of sweat is an indicator of the function of small nerve fibers. 

Using their patented technology, SUDOSCAN was developed by Impeto Medical to assess sweat glands’ capacity to produce chloride ions in response to electrical stimulation on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

By measuring Electrochemical Skin Conductance (ESC) and the degree of observed asymmetry between the right and left sides, SUDOSCAN test findings can be utilized as markers for individuals at risk of autonomic dysfunction.

SUDOSCAN enables physicians to detect early and follow-up peripheral neuropathy, monitor disease development, and assess therapy efficacy for improved patient management.

The effectiveness of SUDOSCAN has been studied in evaluating tiny fiber neuropathies in various disorders, including diabetes, Parkinson’s, Chemotherapy-induced polyneuropathy, Familial amyloid polyneuropathy, and Fabry disease.

In various research articles, the efficacy of SUDOSCAN has been compared to the primary small fiber neuropathy evaluation techniques. The results lead to FDA clearance.

What are the benefits of SUDOSCAN technology for Withings?

Body Scan by Withings is probably the most advanced smart scale currently available. It goes beyond assessing the body composition and positions itself as a connected personal health station.

By leveraging SUDOSCAN technology, Withings will have the ability to expand on the capacities of Body Scan in assessing early signs of peripheral neuropathies. When considering that nerve dysfunction and neuropathic pains are often linked to diabetes, integrating SUDOSCAN technology into the Body Scan scale makes a lot of sense.

Offering a 6-lead ECG on top of the other innovations, Body Scan shows what the future of smart scales may be: An integrated health platform going far beyond weight measurement.

What could be the next steps?

According to the CDC, more than 84% of the 88 million Americans suffering from pre-diabetes are unaware of their potential risks and thus do not change their lifestyle.

Using a smart scale as a pre-diagnostic indicator could save lives and reduce the financial burden of behavioral diseases on the healthcare system.

Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and smart scales are becoming integral devices for monitoring health. By combining different technologies, smart devices are on a path to change how to deal with our health. In just ten years, smart scales and smartwatches have made tremendous advances. The acquisition of Impeto Medical by Withings is just another proof that the field is on a path to changing how people manage their health daily.

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