New Prototype Phone Gives Fitness Check
Saturday, October 6, 2007; 2:54 AM
CHIBA, Japan -- It can take your pulse, check your body fat, time your jogs and tell you if you have bad breath. It even assesses stress levels and inspires you with a pep talk. Meet your new personal trainer: your cell phone.
The prototype Wellness mobile phone from Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc. targets users with busy lives who want a hassle-free way of keeping track of their health, according to company spokesman Noriaki Tobita.
The phone, unveiled this week at the CEATEC electronics show outside Tokyo, has an inbuilt motion sensor that detects body movement and calculates how many calories you burn.
The sensor can tell whether you're walking, running, climbing stairs, or resting, and counts the calories accordingly to tally daily totals, Tobita said.
"It's with you wherever you go, like a portable personal trainer," he said.
Like Nike Inc.'s +Nike technology, the handset also keeps track of jogs, letting users set targets and keeping track of time, distance, and calories burnt _ all while listening to music through headphones.
Hold the phone with outstretched arms, and it turns into a mini body fat calculator. A sensor at the top of the phone takes your pulse from your fingertip.
Worried about bad breath? Use the phone's breathalyzer. After Tobita blew on a tiny hole on the side of the handset for about three seconds, the screen flashed, "Not too bad."
The Wellness phone, developed by NTT DoCoMo and Mitsubishi Electric Corp., also asks questions to assesses stress levels and offers advice.
When the busy spokesman answered "Yes" to a series of questions _ including "Do you feel lethargic?" and "Do you go to bed after midnight?" _ a message appeared on the screen warning he was under a lot of stress.
"Don't worry, tomorrow's a fresh new day," the phone then flashed. "Keep your chin up!"
NTT DoCoMo is still testing some of the phone's other technology, including a function to keep track of meals and calculate calorific intake, as well as a networking capacity to let users share data, Tobita said.
Japan has some of the world's most advanced cell phones, enabling users to surf the Web, check in at airports and play motion games.
DoCoMo has not set a release date or price for the Wellness phone. The Tokyo-based company's phones are not sold overseas.