Body Media has partnered with IBM to use Big Blue’s Decision Management platform to help patients meet their personal fitness and weight loss goals by integrating biofeedback features into the Body Media FIT Armband.

Biofeedback will be an increasingly important feature in all body area network technologies if they expect to gain traction with consumers. This feature from Body Media could have a Siri-like effect on the body area network market.

It may reset the bar for innovation and force competitors to incorporate biofeedback and machine learning technology into their products to remain at the cutting edge, much like Android must respond swiftly to Siri and the other innovative breakthroughs made by the iPhone4S.

The new FIT coach component of the BodyMedia FIT Activity Manager software is the first solution of its kind that can calculate and deliver information on:

  • Whether users are missing, meeting or beating their targets for burning calories daily
  • Multiple activity options for making up shortfalls in daily goals for burning calories (e.g. “Hop on the treadmill and walk for about one hour at a speed of four mph and you should hit your goal for burning calories today”)
  • Nutritional analysis of each day’s eating patterns, along with relevant recommendations for correcting problems such as excess fat intake
  • Overall progress towards the users’ weight loss goals, along with advice to stay on course

“Our BodyMedia FIT Armbands have tracked calorie burn for hundreds of thousands of people trying to lose weight, but we wanted to also help consumers understand how all of this data could effect their fitness goals,” said Christine Robins, CEO, BodyMedia. “By using IBM’s software, the new system now provides daily advice tailored to each user’s specific activities, food consumption and weight loss goals to keep them on track.”

The big winner if Body Media is able to turn machine learning and biofeedback into a feature that excites consumers will be IBM, who in the near-term will be able to license their software Body Media, and ultimately to developers of other personal fitness devices.

“As the marriage of fitness and technology becomes more and more pervasive, we continue to see companies rely on software to distinguish their products in a crowded marketplace,” said Bruce Anderson, general manager, Global Electronics Industry, IBM. “With the help of IBM analytics, BodyMedia has been able to provide users with the insight to make sense of all the information they’ve been tracking and turn it into actionable progress towards their weight loss objectives. This is providing their clients with a fitness experience that no other company can offer.”

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