The three-year IST programme-funded project, which ended 1 January 2004, resulted in two devices. The first is a compact PC platform based on Total Body Electrical Conductivity (TOBEC) measuring technology. The device developed is lighter than the usual TOBEC machines and easier to construct. It minimises electromagnetic disturbance and provides representative Total Body Water results on 50-100 KHz frequencies. The second one is a device based on the ultrasonic measuring technique for patients to measure their body composition at home. It provides low cost, high accuracy Total Body Fat results as well as fat data from various points of the body such as the umbilical level and the mid-thighs.
In parallel Bodylife created a prototype scanner system called "stand and scan", that uses two imaging techniques to predict the amount of fat present. Coils map the internal conductivity of the body to report the amount of water and digital cameras accurately map the surface contours to measure body volume. The system developed put existing techniques for measuring body shape and composition together in one scanning cubicle with a sensor ring that takes just 20 seconds to scan the whole body.
Project manager Dr. Petros Papachristou from ATKOSoft, Greece, explained that using their electromagnetic technique to analyse body composition could also enable doctors to work out the distribution of fat and water in a patient's body, providing a safe and inexpensive alternative to using x-rays or MRI scanners. "Our next step is to continue with our dissemination activities of Bodylife's results", he stated. "The consortium partners are serving as opinion leaders for potential customers and for the health services community in general."
Potential clients include doctors, hospitals, clinics, fitness and leisure centres, as well as content providers as the knowledge collected through the devices will be useful for both clinical use and e-health sites. More information is available at the Bodylife Web site and at the IST Results on-line news service.