Exclusive: We tested the world’s first automatic calorie counter, and it works!

Would you buy a car if it had no fuel gauge? A phone without a battery meter? As humans, we like to quantify the world around us, but until now we’ve lacked the tools to answer the simplest questions about how we’re powered: Are you eating enough? Are you eating too much? What’s in the food you ingest?

The Healbe GoBe Body Manager is the first device that can track what you put in your body without requiring you to ever glance at a nutrition label.

The GoBe told me precisely how many calories I’ve shoveled in, and how many I’ve burned. 

Using three sensors and a lot of complex math, the GoBe I’ve worn on my wrist for a week has told me precisely how many calories I’ve shoveled in, and how many I’ve burned. And I’ve checked it against box labels and other fitness gadgets. I had been prepared to jump onboard with the vocal critics calling the GoBe snake oil. I won’t: The last week has been a total life changer. Not only does it work, learning how many calories I eat and how many I burn each day has me thinking about food and exercise in a completely new way.

Sadly, the GoBe is also one of the buggiest, most frustrating devices I’ve ever used. Here’s an in-depth look at one of the most exciting, yet still deeply flawed, gadgets on the brink of hitting shelves.

Table of contents

Next page: How the GoBe Body works

How the GoBe works

The GoBe wristband uses a combination of three sensors and a lot of number crunching to determine how many calories you eat and burn on a daily basis. The most unique numbers come from an impedance sensor, which sends high- and low-frequency electrical signals into your wrist tissue to measure changes in the amount of water inside your cells. It also contains a piezoelectric pressure sensor to measure your heart rate, and an accelerometer like any other fitness band to track steps.

From water-level data, the GoBe can estimate how much glucose is in each cell. By watching the levels rise and fall over time, it can determine how many calories you eat without the need to manually enter them in an app, and how many of those calories come from carbohydrates, fat, and protein. It combines this data with heart-rate information and some other info (height, weight, age, etc.) to spit out some key metrics:

  • Energy: This is the game changer. The GoBe shows you how many food calories (kcal) you’ve eaten during the day and how many you’ve burned through base metabolism and activity. Healbe’s app shows whether you have a positive energy balance (you’re getting fatter) or a negative energy balance (good news – you’re losing weight). It also breaks down how many calories came from fat, carbs, and protein, along with how many steps you took.
  • Water balance: This screen shows how many 8oz glasses of water GoBe thinks you should drink a day. For me, this totaled about 106oz a day. As you drink water, it automatically reduces and changes your requirements for the rest of the day and the following days.
  • Heart: The GoBe measures your heart rate every minute or so. There is a button to measure your blood pressure, but it turned out to be wildly inaccurate.
  • Sleep: Supposedly the GoBe can measure sleep, though I haven’t gotten this feature to work.
  • Stress: By comparing your activity level to your heart rate, the GoBe estimates your stress level. If your heart rate goes up, but your movement is minimal, it considers you stressed out.

Next page: Test results

Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Wearables

Looking to get into shape? Snag one of these fitness trackers

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Gaming

An ode to Cuphead: One of the most lovable games of all time

Revisiting Cuphead on Nintendo Switch is just as memorable as it was on Xbox One nearly two years ago. Cuphead's aesthetic has a magical quality that transports you back to the childhood joy of discovery.
Wearables

Army uses modified Microsoft HoloLens 2 for ‘real-life game of Call of Duty’

The U.S. Army gave CNBC an exclusive look at its modified Microsoft HoloLens 2 augmented reality headset. The Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, provides various functions for training and combat.
Wearables

Now is the time to pick up and wear a discounted TicWatch smartwatch

Mobvoi is running a promotion on two of its desirable smartwatches, the TicWatch C2 and the TicWatch Pro, where you can get 20-percent off the usual price. This brings our favorite, the C2, down to just $160.
Wearables

The ultimate golf watch isn’t a smartwatch. It’s Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Golf

Forget golf smartwatches, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf is the ultimate timepiece to wear out on the links. It's the world's first mechanical golf watch, and will keep score for you throughout the game.
Wearables

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch: Is more expensive better?

Samsung has finally launched its latest smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. The device is aimed at sporty people and is clearly well-designed. But is the new device better than Samsung's flagship watch?
Deals

Smartwatch deal: The Apple Watch Series 3 just dropped to $199

Now’s a perfect time to grab the last-gen (but still awesome) Apple Watch Series 3. It's a great wearable for those looking to hop into the world of smartwatches, and this limited-time deal makes the Series 3 even more attractive.
Deals

Apple Watch Series 3, Fitbit Charge 2 see price cuts from Walmart and B&H

Save around $50 on the Fitbit Charge 2 from Amazon and more than $100 on the Apple Watch Series 3 at B&H Photo Video and Walmart. These may be slightly older models, but they're still excellent fitness trackers and smartwatches.
Health & Fitness

From the office to the gym, these are the best smartwatches for fitness

The line between smartwatch and fitness tracker continues to blur. To help narrow the field of the best fitness watches, we sifted through what's available and curated a list of devices worthy of a spot on your wrist.
Product Review

This $295 smartwatch has the Armani name, but not the looks

The Armani Exchange AX Connected smartwatch does everything right. It has strong technical features, a good design, and isn’t over-priced. But is subtle brand name appeal enough to recommend it?
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for April 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Deals

Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches get big price cuts

The Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear S3 are at some of the lowest prices we've seen since so far this year. With discounts from Amazon and Walmart, now is a great time to find spring savings on wearables.
1 of 4