As ever with social media, viral ads pop up to try and sell you things. This one was a little more interesting than most. A continuous Ketone Monitor, no less, from a company called SiBio.
Obviously being a sucker for a new sensor, I jumped right in and ordered a month’s worth, at $61 for two sensors. Substantially discounted, apparently, to the normal price.
Having received them at the start of July, I’ve now applied the first sensor and am testing it out, before considering running a comparison with ketone testing strips.
Who are SiBio?
SiBio describe themselves as “an innovative company with medical active implant and medical artificial intelligence research and development as its core technology. It is an innovator and leader in the field of biomonitoring, focusing on serving people in the consumer sector, dedicated to improving people’s lifestyles and understanding their physical state, and discovering more body secrets.”
They were founded in Shenzhen in 2015.
How does it work?
It appears very similar to the CGM sensors we know and love. The box everything comes in is similar sized to the Libre2, which contains a two part applicator that’s very similar to the Libre system.
Once applied, the sensor looks like any other sensor. It’s very flat, but has a similar size to a Dexcom G6. It’s not got a large sticky patch, so it remain so be seen whether it lasts a full 14 days. The box also didn’t contain an additional overlay.
Other than that, there’s little difference to what you’d get with a CGM in terms of physical form, and, I assume, function, other than a substrate that generates an electrical signal with the presence of ketones instead of glucose.
And the app?
I think it’s fair to describe the app as fairly simple. It’s targeted at those who are following a ketogenic diet and is designed to tell you when you’re in ketosis. I’ll be giving it some very low carb time to see what comes out.
There doesn’t appear to be a way to extract data from the app, and frustratingly, it’s not a continuous monitor in the sense that it doesn’t appear to always receive data, although the ads suggest it is collected and transmitted every five minutes.
As far as I can tell, the idea is that you open it up and it downloads the last eight hours of ketone data from the sensor while giving you a reading right now. The Bluetooth connection options don’t include an “Always connected” option, which is somewhat frustrating.
I’ve also found that reopening the app often doesn’t result in a reconnect, and I need to click on the downloaded APK and re-install when I want to check readings.
Having said all that, if you open the app every couple of hours, it appears “real-time”.
On top of that, the app isn’t in the playstore, which also raises security and update concerns.
Not a diabetes monitoring device…
The pseudo-continuous data and the set up of the app are clearly designed around nutrition rather than medical monitoring. There are, therefore, no alarms built in to the system.
There is also no notification of the current reading in android notifications, so it’s not possible to allow an app to track those.
Is it accurate?
I don’t know yet. It will need some testing against ketone strips, and I need to acquire those. That and a couple of weeks of low carb should give some indication of how well it works and whether it’s accurate against the blood tests.
From a nutritional ketosis perspective, does it even matter if you know the number? As long as you’re in range and not too high, I’m not sure that it does!