If you want to track your weight over a period time, I’d imagine you’d get a smart scale. But if you think weight-tracking isn’t quite giving you the proper motivation to make the health changes you need in your life, perhaps something like ShapeScale is more your speed.
Sure, ShapeScale ships with an app that tracks your weight, but it also does something I’ve never seen before. It uses a robotic telescoping arm that circles your body and spits out a 360-degree image. The camera array can measure the tiny differences in your body’s size and plot the change for you to analyze over time.
I talked with co-founder Alex Wayenberg about ShapeScale’s philosophy, and on paper it’s a reasonable approach. Too many fitness gadgets focus on numbers and data that don’t necessarily translate into helpful information for someone looking to improve their overall well-being. ShapeScale can give you massive amounts of data, but it also wants you to be able to see the slight changes in your body that you yourself wouldn’t be able to notice.
So basically, all the motivation ShapeScale is going to give you is the day-to-day visuals that chart your physical change. And let’s be honest, that’s what most people care about anyway. Is that diet working? Look for yourself. Is this new bicep exercise making my arms bigger? Go look and see.
But there are a few places where ShapeScale starts to lose me. First off, it’s going to go for $500. I’m a health gadget outsider, but that seems like a serious investment in a single platform.
Then there was the demo I received in our office. ShapeScale won’t arrive until 2018 — but that’s a good thing. There’s some wonkiness that needs to be worked out. While it sounded like the prototype got a little dinged up traveling to New York from San Francisco, we weren’t able to successfully scan my body until the unit was repaired.
We didn’t get to see a fully workable version of the final product. That has us skeptical, too. There’s also a some refinement that will need to go into the final product — the balance of the scale, the reliability of its moving parts and the overall ease of use are all things to remain concerned about.
The final scan we received was pretty cool (you can play with a 3D version of me above), but the fidelity didn’t come close to the demo scan we saw when ShapeScale was in-house.
If ShapeScale ties up all these loose ends, it could be an interesting luxury fitness gadget. But if not, it’ll be a tough sell at $500.