A year and a half ago (or so) I saw this crazy project on Indiegogo, https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/healbe-gobe-the-only-way-to-automatically-measure-calorie-intake. The GoBe, http://healbe.com/, is supposed to revolutionize how we track our calories, doing it all automatically. I read through what I could find and ultimately decided it sounded interesting. They seemed to gloss over a lot about how it was supposed to work, but gave enough details to make it feel like they thought the system through.
Then I started hearing about people calling it a scam: https://pando.com/2014/03/20/on-indiegogo-a-miracle-health-device-raises-730k-and-a-whole-load-of-red-flags/. “Nothing like this exists, so it isn’t possible that someone else is making it.” Personally, I had fully understood that there is a chance that they can’t make it, but I was curious enough to get one. I was just surprised that people hadn’t thought it through before putting money on the line.
The original date for delivery came and went. Occasionally we got an update, but those were few and far between. This made people even more worried about it being a scam. But then, it showed up!
— Derek Mantey (@doolbneerg) July 10, 2015
Here are some first impressions, I have only had it for about a week. It seems to be tracking something related to calorie intake. It is really large and can be uncomfortable, especially when sleeping. Unfortunately, my wife’s broke within the first week, it always said that there is no contact. Luckily GoBe said that they are going to send a replacement.
Software seems really buggy and just young. The UI is slightly unclear, for example, there are up arrows and down arrows for consumed and burnt, neither really make sense. The water feature seems pointless since it seems like you have to enter that completely on your own.
The sleep feature has weird “heart episodes” listed like Arrhytmia and Bradycardia, that seems like they should have just left off, since they keep saying that this isn’t a medical device. And from what I can tell, Bradycardia isn’t actually necessarily bad.
The “automatic” calorie measure I think it my biggest issue so far. It is “automatic” in that it will attempt to read calories consumed, if you tell if when you eat by pressing the button on the side. However, I frequently forget to press the button. Then when you sync, it asks you if you ate during a time range with a bunch of other random times. I have frequently messed up when I ate and answering those questions such that I have lost whole meals. If you can handle the buttons and answering the questions about when you ate correctly, it won’t be able to tell how many calories you have consumed until your body has absorbed it all, which is about 3 hours. This means you can’t really use it to gauge if you can eat dessert. It only really tells you how you did yesterday.
At this point I am trying to get a clean set of days where I track calories in another app across several days to see how it actually performs. If the underlying technology works, then the software can be cleaned up to make it easier to use.