By Ariel Schwartz
Metabolism is the wrench in every dieter's plan. It doesn't matter whether someone uses a Fitbit, a Jawbone Up, or even a real-life medical tricorder--every weight loss regimen can be foiled by a slow metabolism. That's why a portable metabolism tracker is the logical next step in the ever-growing self-tracking movement.
Breezing, a smartphone-syncing portable metabolism tracker created by a group of professors at Arizona State University, can provide accurate diet and exercise recommendations based on your metabolism at any given moment. More specifically, the app will tell you how many calories your body is burning every day, how your metabolism is changing over time, the number of calories you burn based on metabolism plus exercise (we see big integration potential for the Fitbits of the world), the source of your body's energy (fat, carbs, etc.), and how your weight progress aligns with metabolism.
The technology behind Breezing isn't new. Indirect calorimetry, the standard method for measuring metabolism, can be performed in many doctor offices--but only using a large, complex machine. Breezing, on the other hand, is tiny and simple: you just need to breathe into it.
Why is this better than the tried and true weight-loss method of just eating based on an estimated metabolism for your weight and height? In some cases, that works just fine. But at a certain point, the human body reaches a weight-loss plateau--that is, it adjusts for the decreased calories coming in by dropping its metabolism. When that happens, Breezing knows it, and can advise users to adjust their diet accordingly.
Like many university innovations before it, Breezing is being spun out of ASU as a separate company, even though it uses technology developed at the school. But unlike most of the startups coming out of ASU's Arizona Technology Enterprises, the university's intellectual property management and technology transfer organization, Breezing is raising money on Indiegogo. At the time of writing, Breezing has raised $17,448 out of a total goal of $100,000, with 28 days to go.
Before you pre-order Breezing, a word of caution: The device is only compatible with Android for now. The device's creators are actively working on an iPhone version.
Copyright 2013 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.