Withings announces ‘breakthrough’ in-home smart urine lab for nutrition and cycle tracking

For this year’s CES announcement, Withings has revealed a “groundbreaking” in-home biomarker analysis platform. Called U-Scan, the upcoming smart health product is touted as a “miniature health lab” that sits hygienically in any toilet to “unlock the wealth of health information in everyday urine.”

Withings’ U-Scan has already been named a CES 2023 Innovation Award recipient in the Smart Home, Fitness & Sports and Digital Health categories.

Here’s how the company describes the new smart health platform:

“With over 3000 metabolites, urine is an extraordinary witness to assess and monitor a person’s health. It provides an immediate overview of the body’s balance and is essential in monitoring and tracking various types of health information. Although we urinate on average 7 times a day, urine analysis is usually done only once a year. The Withings U-Scan aims to change that by making it possible in the future to conduct biomarker assessments from the comfort and privacy of one’s own bathroom.”

As shown above, the U-Scan consists of a technologically compact pebble-shaped reader that works with a changeable analysis cartridge that reads specific biomarkers. That eliminates the need for traditional strips or catching urine in cups.

Along with the hardware, Withings plans to offer the U-Scan Nutri Balance which is described as a “detailed metabolic guide for hydration and nutrition” and the U-Scan Cycle Sync “for tracking and synchronizing a woman’s monthly cycle.”

Launch of Withings U-Scan

Withings will launch a consumer version of the U-Scan first with a medical-grade model planned for the future.

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The U-Scan launch is scheduled for Europe in Q2 2023 with a starter kit priced at €499.95. That includes one cartridge that lasts three months with the option to buy more as you wish or subscribe to an auto-refill subscription.

The company is working with the FDA on approval in the US with a launch date pending approval.

Check out our Withings review to learn more about Apple Health supported products:

Read more about how U-Scan works from Withings:

As Simple as 1, 2, Pee – How It Works

Although easy to use, U-Scan overcomes various technical and chemical challenges. Developed with in-vitro diagnostic experts, it has been in the making for four years and resulted in 13 families of patent applications. As a complete system, U-Scan performs three tasks:

  1. Automated Sample Capture – using a sophisticated reader in the toilet bowl

Only 90 mm in diameter, the rechargeable U-Scan reader is designed to differentiate between external fluids and urine and funnel samples automatically for analysis. Urine flows efficiently into the collection inlet thanks to its pebble-shaped design. The pump is activated when a thermal sensor detects the presence of urine, which initiates the sample fluid’s journey in the microfluidic circuit.

After collection, the urine sample is injected into a test pod where the chemical reaction is read by an optical module. At the end of each measurement, the circuit returns to the idle position and the remaining liquid is purged through the waste outlet. The system is then cleaned with each flush.

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U-Scan can differentiate between multiple users thanks to its Stream ID feature. A low-energy radar sensor embedded in the reader measures multiple variables to identify a person’s urine flow signature, by tracking the movement and distance of the flow. Stream ID information can be verified in the app.

  1. Biomarker Analysis in small urine labs tailored to specific use cases

The rotating cylindrical U-Scan cartridge is a small chemical evaluation chamber that contains dozens of small test pods that can provide reliable results.

When the reader delivers the sample to the injection point the U-Scan begins the chemical analysis in seconds. It automatically sends the results via Wi-Fi and then rotates the cartridge to expose the next test pod to the injection point. Each cartridge is designed to support up to three months of reading.

The modular system is designed to enable Withings to continue to develop and support the analysis of biomarkers associated with various medical and health conditions. Combined with measurements from the Withings ecosystem, U-Scan will create more insights for users and is an exciting tool to potentially help prevent disease, improve quality of life and reduce healthcare costs.

  1. Actionable Advice – guided insights backed by science
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The accompanying Withings app provides results, actionable insights and guidance designed to help people build habits for improved well-being. In Europe, U-Scan Cycle Sync results will appear in the Withings app which is the go-to place for cycle tracking, coaching and journaling. It will show cycle predictions and ovulation windows based on hormone tracking along with key hydration and dietary biomarkers, specific gravity and pH levels to help women manage every aspect of their cycle. U-Scan Cycle Sync is being developed in the US; its characteristics will be announced when the solution becomes available following FDA approval in the future.

In Europe, the U-Scan Nutri Balance app shows analysis of specific gravity, pH, vitamin C and ketone levels. It helps people monitor their metabolic intake to optimize their daily hydration and nutrients. In addition to displaying results such as carbohydrate balance and pH levels, it recommends exercises, diet recommendations and recipes to achieve identified goals. U-Scan Nutri Balance is being developed in the United States; its characteristics will be announced when the solution becomes available following FDA marketing clearance in the future.

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