InBody Integration for biometric and blood pressure data into a web application

April 24, 2020

People today are more health-conscious than ever before, and digital technology is playing an important role in this development. Thanks to modern technology, there are many tools and devices to measure and record physical characteristics that relate to personal health. Tracking exercise routines and nutrition has become a popular tool for individuals to keep up a healthy lifestyle. Many health-related online platforms, applications and tools are available for individuals, and integration of such tracking devices can improve their service. 

This article details such an integration project. Our Dot Net application team helped a client integrate InBody technology into their application. 

InBody devices offer detailed measurement of body composition balance, including key health factors such as protein, minerals, BMI and body fat percentage. Our project revolved around integrating the InBody 570 device with a .Net application. The solution we implemented involved the .Net application listening to the serial ports attached to the device for the duration of the test. After receiving a data stream from the InBody device, relevant data is extracted using indices of specific data factors mentioned in the InBody 570 technical documentation. Key settings required by the .Net application include baud rate, parity, data bits, and stop bits. The InBody technical specification includes more details about the values of these settings.  Once the data stream is received, and the data factors are extracted, the data was saved in an SQL server database. The .Net web application reads this data from the SQL server database and displays it to the user. 

Key Challenges

The idea is that the application can be used by the fitness facility subscribing to the application and having an InBody machine. The application runs on a laptop or desktop computer connected to the Inbody machine. However, one challenge was that there is no guarantee that the computer is always connected using the same port. If the computer had more than one port on which the device stream can be received, then we had to lock and keep listening to all available ports. Our solution to these issues was to program the app to lock and keep listening to all available and open ports of the laptop and as soon as we receive either data stream or exception, we unlock all ports locked by the .net application. It is important to note that only that process which has locked the serial port can unlock it, no other process can forcibly remove that lock. In the event that the process which locked the port gets terminated, one is left with only the option of system reboot in order to unlock that port.

Another issue is that the same app was required to integrate with another measurement device manufactured by InBody, the BPBIO 320. This device reads systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and pulse, and we modified the .Net app to work with both InBody devices. We used a condition-based code, which looks at application settings and accordingly saves the data in either the production or the staging environment. The BPBIO 320 requires a different baud rate to that of InBody 570, therefore we adapted the application so that the user enters the test type, and then the baud rate is automatically set up by the software. We also process information contained within the data stream that indicates status such as “Measurement started”, “Measurement interrupted due to use of the stop button”, and “Measurement interrupted due to error”.  These cases are handled in the application and clear information is passed on to the user.  

We used a PuTTY tool to simulate the device stream in the development environment, as the physical device was not always available. Device testing was performed after development was complete, and we made the necessary changes to the application before the launch.

We will be glad to help anyone interested in doing similar kinds of integrations in their software. For more info

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