It's been a busy year for NTT DoCoMo's
research and development division, with the company presenting a goldmine of future accessories at its CEATEC
booth. We're not seeing anything terribly exciting in the smartphone department, beyond a wider adoption of Android, but from the battery with a 10-minute charge time that we saw yesterday
to the bad breath, hunger, body fat and food analyzers that you'll find below, there are certainly quite a few gadgets worth checking out. We're bundling a few of them here, so jump past the break for our hands-ons with three different health accessories (including a bad breath analyzer!) and a clever food analyzing app.
NTT Docomo Breath, Body Fat, Food Analyzers hands-on
Arriving just after breakfast, our first stop was at the Hunger Analyzer station, where DoCoMo reps were on hand with a Bluetooth accessory that measures acetone levels, sending results to an app that determines not only if it's time for you to eat, but also whether or not your body is in a good position to burn fat with exercise. When we blew into the device, our hunger level came back at zero percent, which seemed accurate after completing a rather hearty Japanese breakfast. When the rep blew in, however, the app displayed a hunger level of 72 (and later 84) percent ... we clearly know how to eat. His fat-burning indicator test returned a positive result as well, suggesting that he would burn fat if he exercised immediately. Check out the video below to see the test in action.
Next up was the Food Photo Image Analyzer (note that these product names aren't final, and are likely rough translations). At this station, reps used an Android app paired with a smartphone camera to photograph plastic food samples, then upload them to a server for analysis. At this point, the app can only identify certain foods, and only provides calorie results for standard portions (it can't tell the difference between a plate and bowl of pasta, for example). After you select the correct item from the possible entrees the server will return, the app compiles a meal diary of sorts, tagging each item based on the time it was uploaded.
Finally, a pair of smartphone jackets bring some clever health tools, including the Bad Breath Analyzer -- our personal favorite. That accessory also doubles as a blood alcohol level tester, while a second jacket determines body fat content. You'll insert gender, height, weight and waist size, and the app determines both fat and muscle percentages. Like the food analyzer, this tool can tally results in a health diary, tracking your progress through a diet or exercise program.
Like most of the gadgets we saw at the NTT DoCoMo booth, all of these are prototypes, with no specific plans for release. And, if they do ever hit the market, they'll likely only be available in Japan. But we had fun poking around the company's CEATEC science fair nonetheless.