Future of Digital Scales: Will Measure Weight & Health Risks

Step on the scale. Adjust your feet. Hold still for a couple of seconds while the scale delivers the result.

If you’re trying to maintain your weight or lose weight, you probably weigh in at least once a week. Some people even record their weight daily and track their progress. It’s a smart strategy that can help you be more aware of your food choices and exercise habits.

The scale you have at home or use in the gym has been a standard tool to help people track changes in weight since the late 1700s. Yes, people have been concerned about their weight for at least 250 years. The original scales to weigh yourself were simply a spring-loaded device that delivered the news based on the amount of pressure it detected when you stood on the scale.

Today, there’s a growing number of high-tech digital scales that can track your weight and even connect with your smartphone to take a picture to create a visual record of your weight loss or weight management efforts. Some scales can even measure body fat, lean body mass, and other biometric data.

But that’s just the beginning of what digital scales can do. Researchers at Kaunas University of Technology Institute of Biomedical Engineering in Lithuania, believe advancements in technology have made it possible to develop digital scales that can measure a lot more than weight.

Their most recent project, a digital scale that can detect arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), long before a person experiences chest pains or suffers a heart attack or stroke. By measuring the speed of blood pulse waves this digital scale can determine the stiffness of arteries. Catching this risk factor early can provide a doctor with valuable insight about patient health and lead to changes in medication, diet, and lifestyle habits.

Project director Vaidotas Marozas says this is just one example of what the future holds for combining technology and scales, once used to primarily measure weight. His team is currently working on technology for scales that can also measure blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, and hyperkalemia (elevated levels of potassium in the blood, common for those with kidney disease), and up to 17 other health parameters.

You won’t see these high-tech scales on store shelves yet. But Marozas expects these types of scales to be widely used as younger generations age and need to pay more attention to weight and overall health.

Of course, you might not need to worry much about overall health if you pay attention to serving sizes and stick to eating healthy foods like the ones found on our Portion Control menu.