LAS VEGAS--Childhood obesity is a concern throughout most of the U.S., and yet most scales are not child-specific, nor do they take body fat measurements.
Company reps tell me the monitor uses alternating current signals to measure body impedance (a process known as biometric impedance) for body fat calculations. The whole process takes about three seconds for a reading.
Tanita is actually releasing two child-specific monitors, the other being a wired version (BF-689 for $69). What's intriguing about the wireless version is that it actually hides the results from the user, using the Ant+ wireless protocol to send data to an in-range dedicated device with Tanita's Health Ware software to record and analyze the readings on a daily, weekly, monthly, and/or annual basis. (The BF-689 displays results on the monitor.)
The idea here is that kids can be sensitive to weight issues, and in certain settings (gym class, busy household, locker room) might avoid using a scale for fear of being seen. Whether this approach will prove useful remains to be seen, but it does take a certain anxiety out of stepping on a scale.
The monitor, which weighs 2.7 pounds, tracks weight and body fat, is powered by four AA batteries, and has a weight capacity of 330 pounds.