The likelihood is you’re reading this article with a pretty full belly, having blown through Christmas dinner, evening cheese and enough chocolate to be transported via rail. Next comes self-loathing and a frantic Google as o how best to shift the weight for your new year’s eve party.
Silicon Valley, as always, thinks it has the answer – and we’re not just talking crazy “biohack” diets, favored by those for whom eating appears optional. In the past few years Valley wonks have been furiously at work devising all manner of gadgets and food-tech solutions to achieve the weight-loss holy grail: losing weight without spending hours in the gym.
While Red Herring would hardly advise you not to work out daily, here are some of the most intriguing innovations of 2017 claiming to get people fitter. Don’t deny it: you’re reading with interest.
Modius is a U-shaped headset that, when worn, stimulates the vestibular nerve. That in turn activates the hypothalamus, the part of your brain that regulates metabolism. Control that, Modius’ parent company’s CEO says, and you’re on the path to fat reduction.
“Weight gain and weight loss are controlled by your brain, which controls your appetite, your hormones, your metabolic rate, how much fat you store, and more,” Neurovalens chief Dr. Jason McKeown says. “Modius resolves this issue by stimulating the vestibular nerve and activating the epicenter of it all, your hypothalamus.”
So, just pop on your headset for 45 minutes each day and your body will be prompted to store fat differently. That helps (note: helps. You’ll still have do exercise) get body fat levels down by between 2% and 16%, according to a study carried out by Neurovalens.
Investors (or desperate gym bunnies) have helped the company raise over $50,000 to develop its product. You may have to endure a short, sharp electric pulse to get your fat burn. And Valley types might baulk at the fact you need to sit still for the entire 45 minutes while wearing the headset. But it’s certainly an interesting angle on fat reduction. And it makes you look a little like Geordi Laforge, which is a small bonus.
From harmful drugs to downright chicanery, you can usually take the concept of diet pills with a pinch of (low sodium) salt. Massachusetts-based Allurion Technologies could change that. Founded in 2009 the company has developed an inflatable gastric device, the Elipse Balloon, that helps reduce weight without the need for surgery.
Once you ingest the pill it expands in the stomach for four months, before deflating and passing through the body the usual way. Trials have shown that people using Allurion lose an average of 33 pounds – almost enough to counter that neverending diet of turkey-and-gravy leftovers around Christmas.
Allurion says its solution is simple, scalable and far safer than any surgeon’s knife. Investors agree: this year the company closed a $27 million funding round led by Romulus Capital, among others, that is helping it expand (pardon the pun) into territories including Europe and the Middle East. “This funding will assist us in serving the millions of people around the world who are struggling to lose weight,” said Allurion co-founder Dr. Shantanu Gaur in a statement. Allurion is hoping its technology will fight ballooning waistlines head-on.
From smart toilet seats to blenders, IoT has invaded all aspects of our daily life. Now it’s coming for our sleeping habits. Sleep Number offers a smart bed whose softness is determined by whomever is sleeping on it. Users simply have to dial in their own personal ‘sleep number’ into the 360 Smart Bed, after which the product even adjusts based on nighttime movements.
That will, the company promises, help you get better sleep: essential for any diet or exercise plan. Add to it all the fact the 360 Smart Bed comes with foot warmers, and this is a household item any Valley entrepreneur can surely get behind.