Upgrade Yourself: 6 ways to be your own digital doctor

Stay away from the scalpel but be sure to keep these health-monitoring gadgets close to hand...

The first wave of fitness trackers were all about tracking the simple stuff like your steps and how many calories you've burned (just slightly less than that Lion Bar you're eyeing, we're afraid).

But if you thought that was scary, today's most advanced health tech is capable of providing even more terrifyingly useful insights into the state of your fleshware. Here are the five digital doctors we're most excited about.

And if you're looking for more techie ways to kickstart the quest for a healthier, fitter you, check out the full Stuff Fitness Special.

The ultimate digital nurse: Qardio

Playing doctor and self-diagnosing with the help of Nurse Google is normally a surefire way to turn yourself into a hypochondriac, but not if you’ve got the right tools to hand. Qardio’s fleet of day-to-day health gadgets allows you to keep track of three vital signs: blood pressure, heart rate and weight. 

The QardioArm (£100) might look like a headphone amp, but it monitors your blood pressure rather than sprucing up tunes (although it’ll also pick up on any irregular rhythms from your ticker). All the data is sent over Bluetooth to your phone, which can be paired with a tap, and it’s all plotted on charts to help you spot changes. The cuff doubles up as a cover when it’s not in use.

If you want more deets on your beats, the QardioCore (£tba) is a chest strap that’s designed for everyday use in mind, not just when you’re out running a triathlon. It can also pick up on stress levels, body temperature and respiratory rate, plus it’ll record all the things an activity tracker around your wrist would monitor and send it all to the Qardio app.

And then there’s the QardioBase (£130) – a sleek set of smart scales that look like they could’ve been designed by Nest. In fact, they look so chic it’s almost a shame to stand on them. But you should, otherwise they won’t measure your BMI, muscle mass, body fat percentage, water and bone composition and standard weight. Shed some pounds and you’ll be rewarded between your feet. 

All of Qardio’s kit connects to the same app, plus it’ll integrate with Apple’s HealthKit, so you can build a complete picture of your health.

Best of the rest


23andMe (£125): the one for stattos 

Who you inherit your genes from doesn’t just determine whether you think coriander tastes like soap, or if you can roll your tongue (which is disputed anyway); it can tell you all sorts about your health. 23andMe’s at-home DNA tests don’t require any blood; simply send off a saliva sample and it’ll be analysed for over 100 conditions and bodily traits you might’ve been unaware of, from lactose intolerance to earwax type.

Prana £tba: the one for postural salvation

Prana (£tba): the one for postural salvation

Stop slouching. Come on, we can see you doing it. If you had one of Prana’s breathing and posture monitors we wouldn’t have to shout at you. It sits on your waistband and works out whether you’re sitting properly (and breathing properly as a result), pinging your phone if you could be sitting up straighter. If you want, you can even play a little game. We like to call it Sit Up Straight Or You’ll End Up Looking Like A Hunchback, Idiot.

HealBe GoBe US$300: the one for dieting willpower

HealBe GoBe (US$300): the one for dieting willpower

Wearing the GoBe is like having a step tracker for your mouth. While plenty of fitness bands will tell you how many calories you’ve burned, that won’t mean much unless you know how many you’ve shovelled into the furnace in the first place. GoBe’s wrist-riding calorie counter calculates your intake by measuring changes in the glucose levels in your skin. So there’s no use pretending you didn’t have that doughnut earlier.

Kokoon US$220, kokoon.io: the one for sleep-deprived travellers

Kokoon (US$220): the one for sleep-deprived travellers

Insomniacs all need a set of these wireless noise-cancelling headphones, which play snooze-inducing sounds to you through their padded, ventilated lug huggers – be it music, podcasts, audiobooks or things from Kokoon’s own catalogue. Using an EEG sensor, they’ll know when you’ve dropped off and will fade out, while the app monitors your sleep cycles and wakes you up again when you’re not too deeply under.

Liked that? Read this...