One area of emerging health optimization technologies I am most excited about is giving everyone the ability to access at-home blood analysis using just a few drops of blood. So, no surprise I got very excited when I came across COR, a new at-home wellness platform that allows anyone to understand their degree of response to medically proven nutrition and lifestyle interventions.

COR – an in-home infrared spectrometer the size of a small wifi router.

What is COR?

Utilizing infrared spectroscopy, a simple, finger prick blood measurement cartridge, and a library of lifestyle programs, COR is creating an entire in-home nutrition and fitness information ecosystem that combines hardware, software, and data analytics.

COR’s creator was previously the Director of Platform Architecture at Apple (led the creation of all of the sensors on Apple Watch) and is one of the world’s leading experts on Optics and Spectroscopy. 

[ Spectrograph Image ]

How does COR (Infrared Spectrometer) Work?

The hardware component of the COR platform is an infrared spectrometer. Infrared spectrometers are use specific wavelengths of light to identify and quantity molecular changes. They are not a new technology in itself – they have been used for years all over the world, from consumer products to evaluating food crops. In manufacturing, they are used for quality control by comparing the spectrograph of whatever substance is being produced to a control “fingerprint” to detect when a formulation has gone awry.

At its “core” (pun intended), COR’s hardware leverages similar infrared spectroscopy to analyze a small sample of blood (taken via finger prick), then uses machine learning to assess an individual’s blood response patterns against different lifestyle practices to identify which ones are having the greatest positive impact – from eating an additional serving of fish or consuming Ceylon cinnamon, drinking a glass of red wine each day, to aerobic training or Rajio Taiso

COR blood test platform
Preparing a blood sample for analysis by COR

Note that instead of measuring specific blood markers such as Vitamin D or LDL cholesterol, COR analyzes millions of data points in the spectral information, then compares them against a growing set machine learning models.

Library of programs in the COR mobile app

Users can choose from a set of curated practices around a specific theme:

Longevity – Sardinia, Okinawa (notable “blue zones“)
Energy – Pro Athlete, Presidential Athlete (focus on energy regulation)
Joy – Denmark Essentials (happiest people in the world)
Universal – Best of the Best (highest-ranked lifestyle practices on the COR index)

Or you can pick and choose a custom set of practices (up to 7 at a time) you would like to track from COR’s growing lifestyle library. The current list includes:

Nutrition:

  • 1 cup hot drink
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 1 serving wild, cold water fish
  • 1 serving sheep cheese
  • 1 whole guava
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3g of Ceylon cinnamon
  • Green juice
  • No sugar
  • Plant-based diet
  • Protein pregame (plant protein 1-2 hours before a workout)
  • Sweet tooth
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup pistachios

Attention

  • 10 minutes face to face

Exercise

  • 10,000 steps
  • 10-minute Rajio Taiso
  • 30 minutes aerobic training
  • Your age in reps

Each program lasts for 3 weeks, starting with a baseline sample (typically first thing on a Monday morning, before any food or drink), then weekly check-in readings. After completing a program, COR’s mobile app provides a detailed analysis, ranking each of the practices from highest to lowest response. You can then start another program and try out other practices.

My Initial Program Results (Mediterranean Diet Suits Me Best!)

For my initial experiment I created a custom program consisting of the following practices:

  1. 1 serving wild, cold water fish (I chose wild caught salmon and sardines)
  2. 1/2 cup pistachios (unsalted)
  3. 1 glass of red wine (something dry)
  4. 3g of Ceylon cinnamon (added to my morning coffee)
  5. 30 minutes aerobic training (zone 2 jogging or elliptical)
  6. 1 serving sheep cheese
  7. Green juice (2 scoops of greens powder mixed with water)

Each evening before bed, COR’s mobile app prompts you to check off which practices you completed that day along with a self-assessment of how well rested you felt, how stressful your day was, and how your day went overall.

Weekly practice checklist screen in the COR mobile app

Upon completion of my program, the app displays a summary report of my blood response patterns, ordered from greatest (strongest) to lightest (weakest):

Summary of my COR blood response scores for each practice I followed

Greatest Blood Responses – Red Wine FTW!

In my case, 3 of my practices show high response – 1 glass of red wine (greatest response!), 1 serving fish, and 1 serving of sheep cheese. What this tells me is adapting more “Mediterranean” diet will suit me best and I will continue incorporating a few extra servings of fish per week (along with some red wine and sheep cheese).

My blood response pattern to red wine in COR’s mobile app

Lightest Blood Responses

The other practices showed light response – Green juice, 3g Ceylon cinnamon, 1/2 cup pistachios, and 30 minutes aerobic training. At first I was surprised that aerobic training had only light impact, but this was probably due to the fact that I already do a good deal of exercise and I am cardiovascularly fit, so adding 30 minutes isn’t going to move the need much vs. someone who’s baseline is very little exercise. This is also why I choose not to track avocados (I already consume them regularly).

What’s Next?

As I mentioned earlier, convenient at home blood analysis is an area of self tracking and health optimization I am most excited about and I am really excited to see how COR’s offering progresses as they continue building out their collection of practices and machine learning models – I’d love to see more “biohacking” related practices such as sauna, cold thermogenesis, red light therapy, breathwork/meditation, supplements, etc., as well as integrating other health data from sleep and fitness trackers! The app compares your responses to other users, but I would also like to see how my spectrogram compares overall against those of specific population segments such as centenarians (especially those that live in blue zones).

More info / Where to Purchase COR

COR’s launch was so successful that they quickly sold out of all of their initial inventory but will have more in stock soon. Visit COR’s website and sign up for their wait list so you can be the first to be notified when they are back in stock.

About Bob

Bob Troia is a technology entrepreneur and citizen scientist who is focused on the intersection of data-driven citizen science, health and wellness, human performance, longevity, and self-optimization. He has been featured on CBS News Sunday Morning, PBS NewsHour Weekend, National Geographic Explorer, CBC (Canada), SBS-TV (South Korea), Fast Company, Men's Fitness, Outside Magazine, and on many leading health and wellness podcasts.