I love weighted moving averages. They provide an elegant representation of a regular measurement, while smoothing out the day-to-day changes. It’s an ideal way to track your weight, where the daily change can seem significant, but the long-term trend is what really matters.
The problem is, to track something over a period of time, you need to measure and record it religiously. For weight, this means hopping on the scales daily, and remembering to go and enter the numbers into your recording device each time. There are websites that will help with the tracking – I love fatsecret.com and livestrong.com – but they don’t magically suck the data out of your scales.
What we need here are some scales with, I dunno, WiFi or something. “Hrmm,” he says, scratching his enormous belly, “if only there was such a thing available.”
Hark! The WiFi Scales from Withings.com. Once you’ve set these up with a bit of your standard jiggery-pokery, you simply stand on them once a day, and everything else is taken care of. A few minutes after weighing yourself, you’ll find a new entry recorded at the Withings.com website, complete with a sexy graph. The data can be made public if you choose, and you can even use their iPhone app to show your friends how heavy you are.
The scales also measure your body fat percentage – albeit using a somewhat inaccurate method. The important thing is that the measurement is consistent, which does give you a useful long-term trend.
The Withings Scales are incredibly easy to use. My current digital scales require me to tap them, then wait for a zero measurement, and only then can I weigh myself. With the Withings, I can jump straight on the scales and get an immediately depressing measurement. Brilliant!
The only things missing from Withings are an API for data access, and – ironically – a weighted moving average on their default graph. You can export your data in CSV, but I’d like to see an API so I can pump data into a more complete third-party health site like fatsecret.com.
What are you weighting for?
Currently the only way to get these scales in New Zealand is via the Australian reseller. They do support a 1 year warranty, but will add a shipping charge onto your purchase, which means the scales will cost you AU$295, or about $370 kiwi. Fairly steep, but what price convenience?