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The MD monitor gives you a glimpse into your health (hands-on)

by Ervin Stowell (2020-02-09)


Ardec If you've ever been to the dentist, surgical face masks will look familiar -- healthcare professionals use them to prevent the splashing of fluids into their mouths. They're loose-fitting and allow airborne particles in. People commonly wear face masks in East Asian countries to protect themselves from smog and respiratory diseases, but these masks aren't designed to block tiny particles from the air.

class="cnetReview row" section=""> BERLIN -- Tracking your health and fitness without going to the doctors is a reality thanks to wearable devices, fitness trackers and smartphone apps. At Berlin's IFA conference, Philips showed off the latest set of sensors and trackers you can take home to keep an eye on your health.

We'd been anticipating some sort of health app, and Health, plus a service for HealthKit, is it. It's a hub for data. It's meant to work with third-party health peripherals. And it will work with medically-issued health data, too.

The promise, according to what was demonstrated at WWDC, is to knit data from separate apps and even fitness accessories into one repository. Nike, for instance, was named as one company who will be enabling its data into Health. A picture of a Fitbit next to the iPhone shows it won't be the only fitness device to get quick support.

N95 masks are tricky to put on, so make sure you watch a video or check out a guide on how to fit one to your face. Hall says that the key is to wear the mask firmly around your nose and mouth without any gaps. And once it's on, leave it on -- a respirator that's only worn sometimes isn't nearly as effective.

The watch, which is currently at the prototype stage, is planned to track your heart rate, the number of steps you take, Healthdoctoring and how you're sleeping. Philips reckon the low-powered monochrome screen will help the battery to last up to four days. The watch is expected to go on sale in April 2016.

The MD's app displays a user's EKG activity (left) and blood pressure. Lynn La/CNET By placing your finger on the top sensor, the MD can measure your blood-oxygen level and heart rate, and a separate sensor on the other side can read your body temperature when you place it against your forehead.

When your data is synced to the cloud, you can track your progress on your phone or tablet. Rich Trenholm/CNET Other devices include an upper arm blood pressure monitor and a smaller portable wrist-worn blood pressure monitor. They record your heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure and show you the results on the display. There's also a set of scales that records your weight and estimates your body mass index.

2020 Toyota Supra
After about a minute, the scanner beeped four times to indicate it had successfully downloaded the car's data. With the software already installed on a PC, I plugged the CarMD into the PC's USB port and it automatically launched the CarMD Web site. After registering a free account on the site, I entered the car's VIN and it brought up the correct make, model, and year.

The monitor is about the size of a bulbous compact mirror. On the bottom is one of the three touch sensors that measure EKG levels. A separate pump valve is also at the bottom and can attach to an arm cuff outfitted with a mount. Together, they can measure your blood pressure.

Following the instructions, I plugged the CarMD scanner into the car's OBD port, then turned on the car without starting the engine. The scanner beeped twice to indicate it had a good connection, and I had to wait until it finished downloading the car's data. In this car, the port was very accessible on the passenger side of the transmission tunnel, but it was angled in such a way that the scanner's LEDs and screen were not easily visible.

All of this information is then fed into a mobile app, where users can keep track of all these readings. Doctors can also use it to monitor their patients' stats. Again, interested consumers should be cautious of the findings from any mobile health consumer product, as the most accurate readings can be found in a doctor's office or health clinic. Still, the MD may still provide useful information for those who want to gauge how their body is doing at a glance or over time.

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Envelope works by replacing the Pixel 3A's default phone call app with its own, one that is plain and stark, in black and white. After swiping through a start-up guide, the app gave me 10 seconds to slide my Pixel 3A in my fully assembled Envelope. 

Because my friends and I mostly chat through Facebook Messenger and hardly anyone calls one another these days, I easily lasted through the workday, checking messages and listening to music on my computer. Back at home, I assumed things would be as effortless. Barring any fantastical event that would warrant me ripping the Envelope open to take a photo, I can easily leave my phone in my bedroom for hours while off cooking, eating and watching Netflix in another room. The only temptation I could imagine was checking Twitter before bed, but that would be easy enough to resist for one night.