“Your Portable Coach”: Unique Device for Body Composition Monitoring Being Engineered at SUSU

On February 8th South Ural State University will be celebrating the Day of Russian Science. Among the researchers’ projects which deserve special mention are the unique developments aimed at health promotion and wellness. Thus, a device engineered for people who stick to healthy and sporty lifestyle will help constantly monitor their body status.

No Analogues Anywhere in the World

The basis for her research project the postgraduate of the Department of Theory and Methods of Physical Education and Sports Yulia Korableva made the studying of fundamental principles of body composition measuring via registering skin temperature. The ultimate goal was to design a portable device to which there would not be any analogues as of yet. Director of the SUSU Institute of Sport, Tourism and Service, Doctor of Sciences (Biology), Associate Professor Vadim Ehrlich acted as the academic advisor for this research.

“To stay healthy, it is important to monitor fat and muscle fluctuations in the body weight. Abrupt weight changes are caused by serious illnesses, to trace which it would be possible by measuring body composition (fat, muscle and bone tissues, and fluids). Common weigh-scales show only weight, while in certain cases it is necessary to know the ratio of fat, muscle and bone tissues in body. At present to measure body composition, a method of impedancemetry on special scales is used, but it only shows the percentage of fat tissue in the whole body. We suggest to take measures using a thermography method in combination with the impedancemetry method.”

Special equipment used in the research included a Baltech infrared imaging camera creating a thermographic map of a human body, and a Tanita body composition analyzer. Comparing of the thermographic map of a body and its composition data, as well as using methods of mathematical analysis would allow to determine body composition by measuring temperature in certain parts of body (upper, lower limbs, and torso).

What a Would a “Thermal Portrait” Portray?

“We developed our method in order to measure composition not of the whole body in general. Using it, we would be able to determine the ratio of tissues in the right arm and compare the obtained data with composition of the left arm. Significant differences would point to what special attention should be paid to during workouts. Moreover, such diagnostics would allow to assess if a person is potentially susceptible to certain diseases. With the help of such a device as an infrared imaging camera various distresses may be revealed at early stages. Also, it is important to note that this device is absolutely safe for humans.”

By the present moment about 70 girls have taken part in the research. Based on the obtained data a “Body Health” device prototype will be engineered. Execution of a patent for the utility model is planned for 2018.

This device may be used by people living an active or sporty life. It also may be applied in medical clinics, fitness centers, health resorts and health care centers, sports schools and schools for children and young people, sports teams. This method does not have either age-related, or weight-related limitations. Further plans of the scientists include putting the device to the market of health care goods. Yulia Korableva believes that this portable and easy-to-use “Body Health” device has big potential.

Viktoria Matveichuk
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