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Device, app put your blood pressure data online

By Mark Baard
June 27, 2011

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Health Care

For all of you hypochondriacs and good patients with iPhones, the French company Withings revealed last week that its Blood Pressure Monitor is now available in the United States. Withings, best known for its Internet-connected Wi-Fi Scale, says its Blood Pressure Monitor, also called BPM, will also work with the iPad and late model iPods.

To operate the BPM, just wrap its sleeve around your arm, plug its attached cable into your Apple gadget, and the BPM automatically launches a free app to record your blood pressure and heart rate.

The sleeve automatically inflates and releases pressure on your arm while taking readings. There is no ball to squeeze, and the kit rolls up neatly for storage or transporting.

The Withings app saves your readings to your iOS device, along with the times and dates they were taken. That kind of data, which the app displays in simple graphs, can help you detect patterns and chart your progress if you’re engaged in health-enhancing exercise or other activities.

The Withings app also has a sharing feature, so you can pass your results along to your doctor via e-mail, or to your account with Google Health or Microsoft HealthVault. (My doctor is with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which has partnered with both online medical information services.)

The Withings BPM, which has FDA clearance, is available for $129.

Wireless keyboards

Pay another $100, ease tablet typing

Electronics stores might sell more iPads and Android tablets if they displayed them paired with wireless keyboards. Poking around Facebook and typing e-mail messages on the screen of the almost-too-slick Apple tablet, for example, is a chore.

The Verbatim Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard is one option, but it will add about $100 to the price of your tablet PC, iPhone, or other handheld device. Powered by two AA batteries (which are included), the Verbatim keyboard should spare you a lot of aggravation, however. The manufacturer last week announced the keyboard, originally crafted for the iPhone and iPad, is now compatible with the Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy, and other tablets that support Bluetooth and the HID keyboard device protocol.

The Verbatim keyboard is more than 12 inches long when unfolded (plenty of room for typing), and is half that length when folded and stored in its carrying case. It has dedicated media buttons for playing, pausing, and managing iTunes tracks on your iOS device. And the keyboard comes with a stand for the iPhone.