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Startup firm Lumen is running an Indiegogo campaign to create a device that analyzes your breath to deduce metabolism information and produce dietary advice. AppleInsider spoke with co-founder Dror Ceder about this CO2 sensor, and got a chance to try it out.
The device and companion app, both called Lumen, are chiefly for determining your metabolism by way of analyzing a sample of your breath. Much as the police have been breathalyzing American drivers since the 1950s, you breathe or blow into Lumen and get instant results.
It's just that with Lumen, you should get more detailed results than the police need — and then you get advice based on that.
Lumen's device is a carbon dioxide analyzer, and based on the on-device test, the companion iOS or Android app calculates conclusions about your metabolism. That advice can be comprehensive such as producing a personalized meal plan for you. Or it can also just be convenient: you could use the device ahead of a workout and be told whether you need to eat some carbs first.
Ultimately the advice is intended to help you lose weight and that'll be why it's been backed to the tune of 1,374 percent of its target already. Even if we don't watch our weight, we all know that we should and we worry about it.
Typically we don't worry quite enough to actually do anything, though, so this is where a device that can advise you easily, quickly and accurately could be a boon.
Speed is really a key factor. That's not just in the sense that it's quick to breath into Lumen but more that it's then very fast at showing you the results. If you're on a diet, typically you suffer along with it for a week or more before you can possibly tell if it's working. With Lumen, you at least get an indicator of what immediate effects you're achieving.
None of which is of any use if the data from a device like Lumen is wrong. The company claims to have spent four years developing its CO2 sensor and there have been studies along the way from medical experts examining the work.
AppleInsider has seen a paper about a study that was done by doctors from Metaflow Ltd., San Francisco State University and The Sourasky Medical Center in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Their combined research states:
The studies concluded Lumen's ability to identify changes in the metabolic fuel usage of an individual following exercise, a change in diet and consumption of a high carb meal.
When using the Lumen device to assess changes in metabolic fuel usage, the same trends as described in well-accepted literature are seen. The Lumen method was found to effectively differentiate between different metabolic states of an individual Following aerobic exercise, the body shifts towards the fuel usage of fats. This is well-known physiological responses that have been well document-ed. In a T-test analysis, the Lumen method was found to effectively differentiate between different metabolic states of an individual following a single bout of exercise (p
So, it's not going to replace your local doctor or a full medical check-up, but Lumen's data is at least accurate enough to be useful. It's the way that data is used that will determine if Lumen is as beneficial as claimed.
We've only tried a demonstration unit, and final software may change, but the steps were clear and simple. You set a goal from options including losing weight or build muscle, then breathe into the device as prompted.
Right away you get a result about where you are on the scale of carb-burning to fat burning. It's just a figure from 1 to 7 with no units or definition but based on where you fall on this scale, you will get advice like "you should have a no carb day".
There are then also menu recommendations and in its current form Lumen makes these ranging from recipes in its own database to food options from companies like Amazon Fresh and Instacart.
It's up to you whether you then follow its dietary advice but the next time you breathe in, Lumen will be able to see if there's been an improvement. More importantly, so will you: whatever its accuracy and medical science basis, Lumen is certainly a motivational tool.
You can't know how good a device can be until it's fully on sale and in daily use. Yet we spoke with Lumen.me's Dror Ceder about the company's hopes and expectations for their product.
Lumen is not yet available but you can order it for $199 by backing the Indiegogo project which remains live for the next month.
It's still a month away from completing its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign but already Lumen.me's proposed device has raised well over ten times its target. The money pledged — currently $687,177 against a target of $50,000 — means the project is backed. Yet it also speaks to just how much demand there is for the use that it claims to address.