It’s hard to hear that you’re more than a number when most health metrics are definitively quantitative. From your heart rate to your body mass index, it seems as though nearly every aspect of our fitness has a number attached to it. But now, there may be one way to assess your weight, or at least manage it, without having to stare down numbers. Meet Shapa, a scale that leverages AI and machine learning to create healthier habits, and hopefully, prevent disease.
Described as a smart scale without numbers, the Shapa was developed by social scientist and Duke University professor Dan Ariely, and is said to apply principles of social science to manage your weight. Rather than displaying a number, the Shapa provides users with feedback and recommendations to better address health issues.
“Sadly, technology had a negative impact on the effectiveness of the scale as a useful tool to manage weight because digital scales are giving us feedback at a granularity that is very high,” Ariely noted. “Weight naturally fluctuates a lot, from day to day regardless of how much we eat, what diet we have, and whether or not we went for a walk.” Given this multiplicity of factors, the professor said, these variations can “confuse, demotivate, and frustrate us.”
But the Shapa seeks to remove the stigma associated with measuring weight. Instead, the scale gives folks actionable information that seeks to be accessible rather than disheartening.
“With Shapa, we’ve removed the numerical component entirely to make stepping on the scale a positive action, ” Ariely said. “We give feedback in a way that helps people understand the relationship between their lifestyle choices and their health outcomes.”
The display-less scale is said to be more of a “daily reminder” of your commitment to health, whereas the accompanying app gives more direct feedback on your progress. Various colors are associated with various health levels, and Shapa is said to take everyday weight fluctuations into account by averaging your weigh-ins over the course of three weeks. And as you continue to use Shapa, the app begins to provide personalized recommendations based on your weight differentials to help you adopt better habits and improve health overall.
Shapa will set you back $129, but will also require a required one-year subscription to the Shapa program for an additional $10 a month. The company is offering a discount through January 31, 2018, in which the scale will sell for $99, and the program $8 per month.