Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 4 has a feature that can calculate body fat percentage and muscle mass, the company announced yesterday. It’s the latest tech company to offer a body composition feature, joining Amazon, which has a body fat percentage feature in its Halo Band.
Body fat is generally a better way to assess health than weight, but it’s often calculated using a metric called the body mass index (BMI), which is crude and inaccurate. If wearables prove accurate, they could give people a better resource to monitor their health, Diana Thomas, a mathematician who studies body weight regulation at West Point, told The Verge in June.
The Galaxy measures body composition using a technique called bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), which sends a weak electric current through the body. It’s calculating the amount of water in the body — the signal moves more quickly through tissue that has higher percentages of water. Since fat has a higher water content than muscle, the technique can estimate how much fat is present in a person’s body.
BIA can give an estimate of body fat, but it has limitations, said Thomas in an email to The Verge. There isn’t a perfect one-to-one ratio between the amount of water in the body and body fat, and the amount of water in the body changes over time, she said. It can go up and down with exercise, for example, or if someone is drinking a lot of water. One study found that BIA overestimated body fat if the measurement was taken right after someone drank around two cups of water.
Most available devices that use BIA to track body composition send the current through the soles of the feet (like a smart scale) or through the palms. Samsung shrunk the sensors down to fit on the back of the watch. The company’s Healthcare Sensor Lab published a study in January 2021 describing the technology. In the study, 203 people had their body composition analyzed by the watch, two other BIA devices, and a device that uses dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) — an X-ray technique that shows fat distribution through the body, which is considered the gold standard for body composition measurement.
The smartwatch was accurate compared with the DXA measurement, the analysis found. Its calculations were also slightly closer to the DXA measurement than one of the two other BIA devices. Overall, the watch appears to work as well as a smart scale based on this study, Thomas said. She still wouldn’t use it in research studies based on the information available so far — the potential error rate as calculated in the study is too large for that. “For a personal touch point, it may be okay,” she said in the email to The Verge.
Samsung’s approach is different from the body composition analysis feature in Amazon’s Halo. First, the Halo only calculates body fat — not muscle. Its app directs users to take photos of their body, which it combines into a 3D image used to calculate body fat percentage. The system also gets an accurate measure of body fat compared with the DXA, according to an Amazon-funded study.
At the very least, both apps appear to work better than BMI at calculating body fat percentage. BMI is frequently used to guide medical decision-making, even though it’s often misleading — which can skew the diagnosis of some conditions and perpetuate weight-based stigma in healthcare. It’s used, though, because it’s cheap and easy. Most people don’t have access to the more accurate, expensive machines.
It’ll take more research to figure out how reliable the wearables can be in a real-world setting. But they’re easy to use and relatively cheap. If they work well enough to flag trends in people’s body composition that could affect their health, they could make these health metrics more accessible.
Blizzard seemingly removes a reference to Jeff Kaplan in Overwatch 2 – Dot Esports
Fans on Reddit have noticed that a reference to former Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan has been removed from the upcoming sequel’s New York City map. Players spotted that the Sept. 25 Bastion Rework announcement video for Overwatch 2 shows the pizza shop formerly called Jeph’s Corner Pizza is just Corner Pizza.
Fans can see the change for themselves around the 1-minute mark in Bastion’s announcement video, which shows the hero’s new ultimate and the pizza shop in the background. The nod to Kaplan doesn’t seem to be on the shop’s sign, however.
The measure is likely a part of Blizzard Entertainment’s push to remove in-game references to its employees in the wake of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.
Since the lawsuit’s filing, the company revealed it would rename Overwatch‘s McCree, named after a Diablo 4 lead game designer. A statement from the World of Warcraft team said the staff would “remove references that are not appropriate” for Azeroth—presumably referring to easter eggs involving Alex Afrasiabi, a former senior creative director for the game who was directly named in the lawsuit.
In April, Blizzard announced that Kaplan was leaving the company. He was replaced by Aaron Keller, a prominent member of the Overwatch team who helped design the beloved King’s Row map. Kaplan’s departure came before the wave of lawsuits filed against Activision Blizzard.
In the official news release, Blizzard said Kaplan “has decided to leave the company after a long and storied career.” At the bottom of the release, Blizzard included a “personal note” from Kaplan, where he says, “It was truly the honor of a lifetime.” Kaplan’s reason for leaving Blizzard remains unclear.
Now, as Blizzard continues to grapple with multiple lawsuits, the company has begun to erase numerous employee-related Easter eggs and references that appear in Blizzard games. The removal of “Jeph” comes as Blizzard makes changes to company policy.
In August, a Blizzard rep told Kotaku that “[Blizzard] will be reviewing the real-world references currently used in our games and making decisions based on how they best represent core values for our games.” That month, the company announced it would change McCree’s name.
Jeph’s Corner Pizza wasn’t the only reference to Kaplan, however. Reddit users also spotted a coffee cup saying “Jeph” in Overwatch 2, a nod to a picture in which Kaplan holds a cup of coffee with a misspelled version of his name. The cup stands on a copy of a book called “The Green Hills of Stranglethorn,” a quest from World of Warcraft also designed by Kaplan, as spotted by a user. It’s unclear if that reference will also remain in the sequel.
Apple to Fix Issue Preventing iPhone 13 Users From Unlocking With Apple Watch in Upcoming Software Update – MacRumors
In a support document, Apple said affected users can turn off Unlock with Apple Watch and use their passcode to unlock their iPhone 13 until the software update is released. The feature, which is designed to let you unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask or ski goggles, can be toggled off in the Settings app under Face ID & Passcode.
Apple did not specify which software update will include a fix, nor did it provide a timeframe. The first beta of iOS 15.1 was released five days ago, but Apple could also choose to release a minor iOS 15.0.1 update with bug fixes.
As we reported, affected users might see an “Unable to Communicate with Apple Watch” error message if they try to unlock their iPhone 13 while wearing a face mask, or they might not be able to set up Unlock with Apple Watch.
Apple today announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California.
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The finish line is in sight! Apple’s annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we’ll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods.
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August is rapidly drawing to close, which means Apple’s annual iPhone launch event is right around the corner. iPhone 13 and Apple Watch Series 7 rumors are continuing to circulate, and we’re also hearing about Mac updates likely coming a bit later.
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The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being “up to date” in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it’s actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds.
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‘Overwatch 2’ Sure Feels Like ‘Overwatch Patch v2.0’ So Far – Forbes
Blizzard is starting to announce more than just cosmetic changes to its heroes for Overwatch 2, which will start rolling out this spring in competitive play in OWL, using an early build. Yesterday, major reworks of heroes Sombra and Bastion were featured, including changes that make Sombra sound OP on paper, and let Bastion roll around in Sentry mode now, equally terrifying in its own right.
But the more I hear about Overwatch 2 the more it keeps sounding like what is essentially the world’s biggest balance patch, changing the meta with structural changes, like a smaller team size, and then these grand reworks to heroes to make them…better? I mean they’re different, that’s clear, but how much of this is change for its own sake?
While sure, I’ll give these multiplayer changes a chance, it’s not like the decision to make this a full-on “Overwatch 2” has not cost the game or series anything. To do this, they have essentially stopped development on the current game completely, something that is very, very risky in this genre as all other games keep pumping out new content. We haven’t had a new Overwatch hero since April 2020’s Echo. And before that it was August 2019’s Sigma. Development has slowed and then ultimately stopped, and while we’re supposed to get at least one new hero, Sojourn, if not more when OW2 launches, it’s important to remember we still don’t have anything approaching an actual release date for the game, so Overwatch will have taken a “hero break” for a full two years, at minimum, by the time this is over.
Of course, the X-factor in all this is what’s going to happen with single player content. This is the new “paid” part of Overwatch 2, while the multiplayer changes will be free to those who own Overwatch 1. But we’ve heard incredibly little about single player and seen almost nothing from it. There’s something about running story missions on repeat to level up your heroes with PvE only upgrades. Overwatch isn’t getting an open world or loot or anything like that. What I’m hearing sounds kind of like…Battleborn, weirdly? At least a blend of Battleborn, Destiny strikes and the single player content we already see from the game. But that’s just a guess because we only have the barest outlines of how single player or co-op PvE content will work in Overwatch 2. Everything has been focused on these character reworks, and redesigns that I don’t even understand, given that all your skins will carry over from the last game, and players won’t really care that Bastion has a new hat now.
Diablo 4 may be a troubled Blizzard project as well, especially in the wake of all the harassment issues and resignations, but at least I understand that game at baseline. Overwatch 2 remains deeply perplexing, a bunch of massive meta changes for their own sake, a giant mega-patch attached to bunch of PvE content in a series known almost exclusively for PvP. As ever, it feels mainly like Activision wanted to slap a “2” on something, even if it sounds as ridiculous in theory as League of Legends 2 or Fortnite 2, games that are clearly never going to get or need full sequels.
I remain deeply confused about what the end result of Overwatch 2 will look like, or when it will get here. For now, we’ll just keep getting these rework patch note drops, and seeing how things will change.
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