I am holding in the palm of my hand a device that can, in a matter of seconds, measure my ECG, my systolic blood pressure, my temperature, and my oxygen saturation. It’s really quite remarkable.
Two key cardiovascular vital parameters plus two parameters of keen interest in the COVID-19 era available to you in a device that weighs 4 ounces and has the dimensions of a 0.5-inch thick driver’s license!
Here’s the company’s summary of what it can do:
This rechargeable health monitor is small enough to put in a pocket. The monitor serves as a wearable thermometer for accurate forehead temperature readings, will track blood oxygen (saturation) levels and blood pressure (systolic), give a twenty second EKG reading, track your steps with its built-in digital pedometer, and save your data and upload to the cloud for historical records and reporting. With the optional wrist blood pressure cuff, you are able track both systolic (upper number) and diastolic (lower number) readings. Share your blood pressure and health readings with doctors or family members using the free BodiMetrics cloud.
The Performance Monitor (PM) is made by BodiMetrics and sells for $349.
I’m in the process of evaluating it more completely but within minutes of taking it out of the box I was able to easily record all of the claimed components.
A sweep of the sensor on the top of the device across the forehead yielded a temperature of 97.1 °F (that’s normal for me) which corresponded with the 97.2 °F I recorded from a digital oral thermometer at the same time.
After calibrating the PM with an arm cuff blood pressure I did a “body check” by placing the electrode on the left side of the PM against my left palm, putting my right thumb on the metal circle on the bottom front right, my right middle finger on the metal circle on the back and sticking my right index finger under the little latch in the right upper corner. (I know this sounds incredibly awkward but it was actually very intuitive and the positioning feels natural.) A pleasant woman’s voice plus screen graphics provide guidance during the process.
Within 30 second the device recorded a high quality single lead ECG from the electrodes I was touching with my left palm and right thumb and finger along with my oxygen saturation and blood pressure from the photoplethysmograph (PPG) on my right index finger. The ECG and PPG tracings are visible on the LCD screen along with measurements as they are rerecorded.
The data can be reviewed on the screen or uploaded to a free Bodimetrics app.
From the app the entire report can be shared to email, notes, messages, etc. in PDF form.
Here’s the PDF of my initial report from this morning
The oxygen saturation (SpO2) was identical to a measurement immediately following using my pulse oximeter.
In addition to ECG, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and oxygen saturation the device gives you respiratory rate (breath) and the RPP or rate pressure product (which is something we pay attention to when doing stress tests and is the product of systolic blood pressure and heart rate.)
When you’re done doing a “Body Check” you can have the PM “Relax Me.” While holding the PM and touching the various electrodes the device asks you to relax and breath in and out. It displays inspiration and expiration on the screen as you try to match the indicated waveform and rate. When completed a “relaxation index” is reported along with an estimate of heart rate variability (HRV).
I will need to do more testing of the individual components of this device. The ECG is free of artifact and Bodimetrics makes no attempt to interpret the rhythm. Although I have only tested them in my very limited and normal range the oxygen saturation and temperature seem accurate
I would not rely on the PPG mechanism in this or any device for an accurate blood pressure and I will have to test it further to assess the value and accuracy of this particular function. A recent review of PPG for BP assessment concludes that the technique holds great promise but is not yet mature.
The value or meaning of the relaxation index and the heart rate variability for any individual is unclear as I’ve discussed on my Oura ring posts.
For now, however, I’m really impressed with the number of things the PM can do in a tiny palm-sized format. I wasn’t exactly sure what Leonard “Bones” McCoy was measuring with his medical tricorder in Star Trek. Was it called the tricorder because it measured three things? If so, perhaps the PM should be called a quadracorder or even hexacorder.
Turns out (per wikipedia) “The word “tricorder” is a portmanteau of “tri-” and “recorder”, referring to the device’s three default scanning functions: GEO (geological), MET (meteorological), and BIO (biological).”
How many vital parameters does the PM measure?
It measures three of the four standard vital signs really well
- heart rate
- respiratory rate
It also measures the fourth vital sign, blood pressure with accuracy yet to be determined.
Accurate measurement of ECG I consider a major vital parameter so the PM reaches five
Oxygen saturation is a key vital parameter (especially in the COVID era) so the PM reaches six.
I’m not going to consider heart rate variability a vital parameter
The Performance Monitor, therefore, we will call a pentahexacorder (somewhere between five and six vital parameters recorded.)
May the PM allows us all to live long and prosper.