BSX Athletics has launched a Kickstarter campaign for their Insight lactate threshold monitor.
In physical training, the lactate threshold is basically the point at which muscles switch from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism i.e. when they start producing lactate. This concept is employed in endurance training programs in particular.
As well as measuring lactate threshold, Insight also measures heart rate, cadence, pace and calories burned. While working out, Insight provides the user actionable training recommendations via the smart watch worn by the user. These recommendations, such as telling the user to slow down or speed up the pace of their run, are based on the data it collects.
And though intended for highly trained athletes, it certainly seems like there may be some other interesting applications in healthcare.
The BSX Insight is mounted inside a calf compression sleeve.
During exercise it works by shining light into the calf, similar to the way O2 saturations are detected. As BSX founder Dustin Freckleton explained to bikeradar, “each type of light interacts differently with different type of tissue. Some reflect light, some are absorbed. Based on those interactions of distortion and absorption, we are able to determine what is going on inside the muscle.”
The switch from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism can, however, happen in scenarios other than running twenty miles. For a patient with advanced pulmonary disease, it may occur with far lower degrees of exertion. Or for a septic patient, it may reflect profound global vasodilation and hypoperfusion. While details on the specific data captured by the device are scant, in principle the ability to detect this metabolic shift over time could have interesting applications in both acute and chronic disease management.
The BSX Insight is currently compatible with Garmin computers and smart watches. It pairs up with them via either ANT+ or Bluetooth. The Garmin device records BSX data to a TCX file while the user exercises, which when uploaded to the BSX website, provides analytics on the users lactate levels.
“Our BSX servers break down the data into simple and actionable training zones that the athletes need, and that information can be uploaded into a Garmin computer or watch so athletes can train with perfectly calibrated zones,” says Freckleton.
Freckleton explains why his interest in developing the device. “I always trained with heart rate and power, which were good. But I was always more interested in how my body was adapting or dealing with a training load. Athletes have never had a good way to measure how their bodies are responding. Heart rate can be helpful, sure, but everybody knows that it is susceptible to many variables, like caffeine, temperature, fatigue, et cetera. We wanted to go down to the source of the muscle, on a moment-by-moment basis.”
BSX plans to start shipping units by the end of 2014 and is currently offering BSX Insight at a 30% discount via Kickstarter for those who wish to preorder and support their campaign. It will come in two versions, a basic version for runners for $249 and a version for cyclists priced at $329.