Buying the Basis B1 Band
As of this writing, the Basis B1 band hasn't been made available in retail outlets. You can, however, preorder the device on the Basis Web site. When it does hit the shelves, it will set you back $199. That gets you the monitor and a band, as well as the basic version of the online dashboard. If you've got a little extra to spend, you can buy additional bands (yes, the Basis monitor detaches easily) and a subscription to a premium Web-based service, which provides a more robust set of analytics and reports.
Basis will face some stiff competition from other user-worn self-tracking gadgets already established in the market. Jawbone UP ($99.99) looks like a bracelet, but it contains a motion sensor to track movement and sleep. It communicates data to an iPhone app, which makes it easy to monitor health statistics and stay connected to other UP users. Motorola's MOTOACTV ($249) actually resembles the Basis B1 band in that it looks like a watch. That's where the similarities end, however. MOTOACTV combines an MP3 player with GPS to track how far and how fast you run or cycle. If you want to measure heart rate with the product, you have to buy an additional chest strap. Finally, there's the BodyMedia LINK Armband ($199), which is backed by some big-time names, including Jenny Craig, Jillian Michaels and IBM. Yes, you read that correctly -- BodyMedia tapped IBM's Watson artificial intelligence team to develop new algorithms that can more effectively mine data coming from the LINK Armband's sensors, which measure heat flux, motion and galvanic skin response.
As you might expect, the patents associated with these products are protected fiercely. In February 2012, BodyMedia filed a patent infringement suit against Basis Science, claiming that Basis used BodyMedia inventions as the foundation for its product. In May, Basis filed a counterclaim, asserting that BodyMedia's patents are invalid. In a press release issued by the company, Basis CEO Jef Holove said, "We believe these allegations are baseless. We haven't launched the Basis band yet so BodyMedia has no firsthand knowledge on which to base their claims. This appears to be a reaction to our market potential and an attempt to hinder our launch."
It's not clear exactly when the launch will occur or if the lawsuit with BodyMedia has delayed the Basis band's entry into the market. If it does become available and if it lives up to its hype, the Basis B1 band will most certainly send a few ripples through the health technology community. And it just may represent the future of self-care, where we all practice a modern form of biofeedback.