Hemoglobin is the wonderful protein in our blood that binds and carries oxygen. More hemoglobin means more oxygen is able to travel through the body to the muscles, organs, and other parts that need it. It’s no wonder that athletes, particularly endurance athletes, strive for healthy levels of hemoglobin in their blood to maximize oxygen carrying potential (and athletes also can illegally gain an unfair advantage by blood doping).
This past week at CES, Irvine, California based Cercacor Laboratories announced the launch of a device that can measure hemoglobin and pulse rate in 90 seconds with a fingertip sensor. Known as “Ember,” the device works similar to a common pulse oximeter. However, unlike a typical pulse ox, Ember contains eight LEDs to allow for the extreme sensitivity necessary to accurately and precisely measure hemoglobin. The measurements are synced via Bluetooth to an app which can display trends over time and correlate them with the season and the altitude at which they were taken. And unlike a blood test, you can painlessly measure your hemoglobin with Ember as often and wherever you’d like.
While Ember won’t be marketed specifically as a medical device, its underlying technology (Masimo’s Rainbow Signal Extraction Technology) has been clinically validated and used in hospitals for years. Ember will be most beneficial to endurance athletes, such as Olympic triathlete Jarrod Shoemaker, who shared with us at CES how he uses Ember in his training. Shoemaker explained that Ember helped him not only see how training at high altitude increased his hemoglobin concentration, but also how historical trends helped predict how long his elevated hemoglobin levels would last.
Ember is available to pre-order now for a price of $499 through February 20 and will be shipping in March.
Here’s a promo video the company released for the Ember device:
More info: Cercacor Ember