Conclusions

 

Final Status

 

The final two interfaces developed provide a good simulation of a next generation scale. The scale interface was completed although some of the functions such as password changing and network settings were not implemented. The web interface was completely implemented but could still use some additions and refinements. In both cases translating the interface to run on an actual scale would be quite an undertaking. The Visual Basic scale interface would have to be translated to run on a small embedded device and the web interface would almost certainly need to be rewritten as it would be ridiculous to run a full-fledged PHP interpreter and MySQL database on a scale.

 

There are many places where both interfaces could be improved. The scale interface could use more testing, especially with controlled experiments, to streamline the interface and try to get the most out of its eight button interface. Also, adding limited graphing ability to the scale interface would make it possible to quickly view past data in a compact way without needing to go over to a computer.

 

The web interface currently only supports weights and would need to have support for body fat percentage added. The other main area for improvement is the graphing system. Currently the graph’s x-axis labels are simply increasing numbers starting at 1. In the future labeling them with the relevant dates would be necessary. Also allowing user control over the size and scale of the graphs as well as whether weight, body fat or both are displayed on the graph would make sense. Additionally, it would be great if the graphs are able to display recorded comment for each data point when the user requests it.

 

The final unimplemented goal of the interface was to allow for easy exporting of data and graphs. Exporting the graphs could be as simple as telling the user to right-click on the image and save it to the hard drive, but exporting data would require a little more work. The simplest way to do this would be to create a comma-separated-values file that could be saved on the hard drive and opened using Excel or any other spreadsheet application.

 

Below is a brief summary of work accomplished relative to the original vision for ScalePlus.

 

Feature

Scale Interface

Web Interface

Data management

 

 

   - record keeping

yes

yes

   - reviewing

yes

yes

   - adding comments

n/a

yes

   - graphing

n/a

yes

   - exporting data

no

no

User management

 

 

   - adding user

yes

yes

   - removing user

yes

yes

   - password

yes

no

System settings

 

 

   - network settings

no

no

   - sound

yes

yes

Diet advice

no

no

 

 

Future Work

 

There are many opportunities for future work surrounding the ScalePlus. The simplest and most obvious one would be to actually build a physical working scale and convert the interfaces we have designed to run from the embedded device. Simply designing an ergonomic scale would be a worthy extension of this research. Adding a way for this device to communicate in standard ways to work with other medical devices and be incorporated into generic medical record software such as MediConnect would also make sense.

 

We received many requests for the scale to give some kind of diet or exercise advice. The simplest approach to this would simply be to give an estimated number of calories to eat each day to maintain current body weight, lose weight, or gain weight. This can be easily and scientifically computed with good accuracy. The more difficult part would be to give diet advice about what to eat and recommend the types of exercises to do, for how often and how long.