Health Tech

Withings Unveils Urine Analysis Device That Sits in Your Toilet Bowl

Withings announced that it is developing a miniaturized platform that can analyze urine at home. The device, called U-Scan, sits within a toilet bowl and assesses specific biomarkers found in urine.

Withings, a company that makes connected medical devices, announced on Tuesday that it is developing a miniaturized platform that can analyze urine at home.

The company, which was founded in 2008, is based in France and has offices in the U.S., China and Hong Kong. With its new offering, Withings is seeking to sell a device that taps into the wealth of health information that is present in daily urine.

More than 3,000 metabolic biomarkers can be assessed via urine, which makes it one of the gold standards of health assessment, said Withings CEO Mathieu Leombe. Analyzing these biomarkers can help diagnose and monitor certain diseases like diabetes, chronic kidney disease, kidney stones and urinary tract infection, he pointed out.

Withing’s new device, called U-Scan, sits within a toilet bowl. It consists of a pebble-shaped reader and a changeable analysis cartridge designed to assess specific biomarkers. The device automatically captures small amounts of urine and channels it into the analysis cartridge, which quickly begins chemical analysis. U-Scan automatically transmits readable results via Wi-Fi to Withings’ app.  

The device is being developed for the consumer sector as well as the professional medical market. Leombe acknowledged that his company is often compared to other companies like Apple and Fitbit, but these companies have not come out with an at-home urine analysis product yet.

For the consumer market, Withings will sell a U-Scan with an analysis cartridge for women’s monthly cycle tracking and a U-Scan with a cartridge for nutrition and hydration monitoring. These devices will be available for purchase in Europe this year following regulatory clearance, Leombe said. 

He also said each U-Scan starter kit will be priced at $499. There is an additional subscription cost of $30 per month, which provides customers with automatic cartridge refills every 3 months. 

As for the professional medical market, Withings has some research collaborations underway with Dr. Marie Courbebaisse and Dr. Franck Perez, who are both medical researchers based in Paris. Dr. Courbebaisse is beginning a clinical study to see how the device improves follow-up care for patients with cystine renal lithiasis and uric acid renal lithiasis. Dr. Perez is studying how the device can be used to non-invasively detect bladder and ovarian cancer relapse.

Collaborating with medical professionals to understand the best use cases for U-Scan’s technology will remain a priority for Withings, Leombe declared.

“Presently [U-Scan’s analysis cartridges] can be tailored to analyze a combination of markers such as pH, specific gravity, ketones, vitamin C, albumin and creatinine, but Withings chemistry teams are available to help medical professionals create bespoke cartridges for their use case,” he said.

Photo: Withings