Humon Hex * Closes *

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Humon Hex ReviewHumon today announced that they are closing their doors – I’ll cover the impact on HEX users in a minute. For those who want it, the full communique from Humon is shown further below.

Background

The Humon Hex is a muscle oxygen sensor, delivering athlete-metrics along a very similar vein to the existing Moxy product which you may have heard of. There was also a similar BSX Insight product that bit the dust in October 2017.

I reviewed the Hex back in October 2018 and the founders had been around for some time before that, working on the Hex since 2015. It’s a good product, it’s one of those sensors that ‘just works’.

In talking with Humon in late 2018/early 2019 it was clear that they had cash to invest in the product offering. They chose to invest the cash in developing the software ecosystem around Muscle Oxygen (SmO2). Luckily there is already native ANT+ support for Muscle oxygen and that’s supported by Wahoo, Garmin and maybe others too. So the Humon Hex sensor ‘just works’ with those products…and will continue to do so.

However, Humon’s investment in the software also included

  • iOS/Android apps for standalone usage and analysis,
  • Beefing up the competency of their web portal to provide some analysis of SmO2 zones and estimations of threshold efforts (I covered the additions Humon made with an up-to-date Review, below)
  • Developing Garmin CIQ apps for added functionality – such as for SmO2 Zones.

I think that this was all a sensible investment in the infrastructure of the product and I have no criticisms there per se.

Humon had somewhat grandiose ideas that SmO2 could take off as a key training metric, even to guide beginner athletes through their efforts rather than using heart rate. Whilst that was a plausible and physiologically sensible idea, I did seriously doubt the commercial reality of that at the time. Indeed, it seems to have turned out that SmO2 still lies exclusively in the realms of the pro’s and sports labs…as well as sporty data geeks – and I include myself in that last category!

I probably last used Hex a couple of weeks ago. It really is a nice product and it’s sitting on my desk as I write this in the pile of ‘actively used sensors’ – which currently includes Whoop (Review), Polar H9, Polar OH1+, STRYD and, well, …that’s about it.

Finally, Humon were HIGHLY HONOURABLE and paid out commissions to affiliates who they owed money to. Given the financial constraints they have, I hope that signals that they will treat existing customers as best they can.

What this means to existing owners

Actually, it’s not too bad. The sensor will just keep working and, because there is an ANT+ profile, it should continue to work forever on the devices that support that profile….mostly Wahoo and top-end Garmin Forerunners/Edges.

However, if you use the Hex with the Humon app then you’ll probably be stuffed at some point if you change your phone. (I believe it’s possible to port an app to a new phone using an apk??) Even if that turns out to be the case, at least someone might want to buy your Hex as it will still work in several scenarios or you might want to use Hex instead with a supported watch/bike computer.

Garmin CIQ fields are another matter. Yes, they will continue to work but I suspect that existing data fields will not necessarily work on new Garmin devices. This was the case with the Edge 530/830 and Forerunner 945 which each required tweaks to the existing data fields from earlier Garmins. To be clear – even you techies who know how to side-load PRG files may not be able to use that technique successfully on future products.

Don’t worry too much about the rapid demise of BSX, that product functioned in a different way and relied on services being maintained on the net. Hex will keep on working in most scenarios, as described here.

Thoughts

I’m a little bit sad about this as, for once, it’s some tech I use myself and quite like. I wouldn’t say I was especially surprised either but I hope that some sort of phoenix will arise from these smouldering embers.

One of the more positive aspects of this sad event is that the effect on existing owners should be much less than might be the case with the financial collapse of some of the other sports tech we use – especially risky are those that rely on a web-based platform which has an inherent cost with maintaining it. No money. No maintenance. No web-based platform.

Remember also that although customers might have lost a couple of hundred dollars, the founders will probably have lost considerably more in terms of several years of their life, earning forgone and maybe personal and family investments too. #Capitalism…it was ever thus.

Futures

Despite all of the above, I am reasonably sure that the Hex sensor WILL work with Moxy’s Garmin CIQ data fields. I’ve have tried that before and everything seemed to work at the time.

Notwithstanding the info further below, Garmin CIQ apps may well get de-listed from the CIQ store. You could probably ask people like me for an old PRG file to side-load if you get stuck. But as I said above, this technique will likely not work on newer Garmins (Note, I’ve already been contacted by a fellow user who is asking Humon if they will make the code available so it can be maintained as freeware – that would be nice)

Wahoo users who own a Hex will be oblivious to Humon’s non-existence. In fact, someone like Wahoo should buy Humon and just keep it ticking over…in my opinion. Chip?

Perhaps Moxy will be sneaky and offer Humon users a trade-in as they did with the Insight [Read More: dcrainmaker.com (October 2017) ] Edit: they have…HERE

Humon Hex Review ⬢ Muscle Oxygen Use-Case Scenarios

 

Full Official Transcript

 

Dear Humon Athlete,

I’m reaching out with an important update about the future of Humon.

We started Humon in 2015 with the mission of empowering people with the body insights that they need to become their better selves. After years of research and development, we released our first product, the Hex, in 2018. In the years that followed, we were lucky to count amongst our customers some of the most talented athletes, professional teams, gyms, medical centres and academic researchers in the world. These people were able to leverage the Hex and Humon’s software and algorithms to improve their performance, reduce injury and push the world of research forward. To this day we remain convinced that muscle oxygen is the best metric of exertion that exists.

That said, it is still a new and somewhat misunderstood metric that requires sustained levels of market education to exist. Sadly, Humon will no longer be able to further develop this technology and make muscle oxygen available and understandable to the world.

As of February 13th, 2020 we regrettably have no choice but to shut down most of the Humon service. Our iOS and Android mobile application will no longer be available for new downloads on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, our cloud backend and web platform will be shut down, and our support channels closed. That said, you’ll still continue to be able to use your Hex with your Garmin data field that will remain available to download on the Connect IQ Store.

We understand that this comes as a major disappointment to those of you who do not use Garmin products but it is the necessary path forward today. It is also why we stopped selling the Hex in early January, as we began to realize that this would be the case.

This is not an uncommon story in the world of startups, but it is also how innovations can flourish and end up benefiting millions in the long run. On behalf of the Humon team we wanted to thank you all for you trust, support, and help in bringing this product to market. Together, we’ve written a chapter in the history of muscle oxygen.

Best,
Humon

 

MOXY Offers Sneaky Humon Hex Trade-In

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Will

Whilst not a product I ever tried it’s a shame to loose something like this.
And a sober reminder to the likes of Stryd how important making their product more accessible is.

Guest

This is sad. I’m happy owner of a Hex unit and find it generally more useful than HR. That being said, I never managed to get a meaningful training structure based on HR. With Humon, I was able to tailor my intervals based on its zones.

Also, there was a bit of magic to really see 1) when I was fully warmed up, and 2) when it was time to stop training as the recovery was failing and there was no point to continue. It worked far better than ‘an intuitive feeling and years of experience’.

Marathon Man

Oh well…. there goes my rationale for explaining why I had to move from Polar Vantage to Garmin 6…. Serves me right for not doing it as soon as the 6 became available I guess 🤣🤣 I’m going to need a new drawer for muscle oxygenation sensors that no longer work… BSX Insight already in there.

Johnny Gossett

Garmin connect does not show the color zones.. but you can see it live in a data field on the edge device, which is mostly what I use it for. As I already have a BSX in the drawer and money tied up on their rip-off kickstarter watch thingymajig… I guess I get to add the Humon to the list. I hope someone does something with it in the. future.

Will

ps. LVL have started to give refunds. I got mine a few days ago.

On that topic there was an interesting comment in a dcr article. The comment supposesly left by a former lvl colleague casts doubt on dcr accuracy.

Bene

I think they did never marked it to beginners the right way.
Im also a data nerd, running with footpad, HRM-Run and tempe connected to my FR945 für 25km/week 😀 at this point, but never did see a benefit for me in muscle oxygen.

I also have a SHFT in my drawer and wonder how they survive because it doesnt even make sense to sell it used on eBay because nobody wants it.

Hex supported natively as ANT+ profile is a good thing. Even if the CIQ data fields are not compiled anymore for newer devices, somebody else can rework them.

tfk, the5krunner

I still think SHFT has its place but that the market for such devices is limited. Each year there seems to be a new entrant trying to do the same thing either with a body-worn pod or a footpod.

Dying2RunAgain

Have been using the Hex for several months now – life-changing for me. Using it for a metabolic disease that puts me into anaerobic metabolism with laughably little activity. IMO this company – utterly brilliant in so many ways – dropped the ball with marketing and ease-of-use. IMO, marketing so heavily to elites misses the juggernaut application of weekend warriors and wannabe athletes. Everybody’s busy. Who doesn’t want to optimize their training so they are beautifully warmed-up, and know precisely when to stop when further pain isn’t worth it? Look at the performance breakthroughs with the Hex. A guy who was at the 20th percentile 2 years ago, winning the global 2019 indoor erg rowing championship? A neophyte in Spartan Races, clobbering the competition. I can totally see how this allows athletes to go “all in” – because they know now how to elegantly skirt away from non-functional overload, or overtraining syndrome. When I get into conversations with recreational athletes, they are simply buzzed when they hear about the Hex (I wear it everywhere to know when to rest, etc). Indeed, they are so enthused, that they tell their girlfriends, and are wanting to know where to buy one, next… Read more »

Takura

Sad … might have picked up a few for some experiments if they had reduced their price. Started using the Moxy before either BSX nor Humon were available. First bought just one, saw its potential to measure what is happening inside the body, but also its limitations, like getting different readings in different muscles or even different locations of the same muscle. Added two more, which I never regretted and still think of one of my best investments in cycling as it made me understand how complicated human physiology is. Equipped with three SmO2 sensors and seeing the differences in their readings, it was obvious that the initial expectations, like making judgments about completed warmup or FTP from just one sensor was way too simplistic, but now, the differences started to be the really interesting pieces of information. Learned to be cautious of simplified ideas like thresholds or zones to reliably characterize something as complex as the human body which is obviously made of many parts that each have different limits. Followed Humon’s idea of coloring their SmO2 graph with interest as I had previously spent some thoughts about that – of course with the difference that from my data… Read more »

Ryan

I have a basically new one for sale if your interested 🙂

Muzo

Hey , I am looking to have one. Let me know please if you still have it.

3roll4me

I am really sad that this company is no longer in business. I am a Challenged Athlete, also with cardio respiratory issues. I used the Humon Hex for a year riding my ICE Vortex recumbent trike, preparing for the Challenged Athlete Foundation Million Dollar Challenge ride down the California coast. (the MDC is 600 miles in 6 days, with 2500-7500 ft of climbing per day) I normally used heart zones and watts for my training and competition – usually sprint tri to 70.3 events. But I wanted to use the Hex as an additional training tool for the much more ambitious MDC. As it turned out, the HEX rapidly became my most important training tool, and I came to rely on muscle oxygen much more than watts or heart rate for pacing myself in this endurance ride. On cross-training days, I used the HEX at cardiopulmonary rehab sessions at the hospital: Running on a treadmill, the app display was so sensitive that I could see a slight dip in the graph with each muscle contraction during a stride. It even showed the effect of pursed lip breathing during sustained exercise, as the Oxygen levels in the muscle modestly improved, despite… Read more »

JR

I haven’t figured out how to connect Hex to my Fenix 6 natively. I see that you can add a muscle oxygen field and that you can pair a muscle oxygen sensor, but the watch can’t seem to find the Humon as a native sensor. The Humon data field finds the sensor no problem.

TK

From Moxy:
Humon Trade-In

On February 12, Humon announced that they were shutting “down most of the Humon service.” We don’t know precisely what this means for functionality of the installed base of hex sensors. I have reached out to Humon to see if there’s anything Moxy can do to help support current Hex users but I haven’t heard anything back yet.

We’d really like to see Humon customers continue to participate in the advancement of Muscle Oxygen monitoring. Therefore, we are offering a trade-in for Humon Hex owners like we did for BSX. You can get $150 off of a Moxy purchase for trading in your Hex. For purchases on the Moxy Store, click on the link below to add the trade-in product to your cart. The trade-in value will show on the checkout page with your order.

https://www.moxymonitor.com/product/humon-trade-in/

David

Great news!

https://apps.garmin.com/en-US/apps/ad4ee6b7-a1c0-4cb0-b29d-2e04eca7731c

There is a developer for this device. Just discovered it today.
I will keep an eye out for the Android and iPhone app 🙂
Please donate to them somehow to keep the project to keep them going, I know I will when the developer gets back to me 🙂

tfk, the5krunner

looks nice. the developer can post here if s/he wants to. #relevant

iltenente

Hi, I contacted the developer to find out about the development of an IOS app and to find out if they are also willing to develop an app for Apple Watch which for me and I hope for many others is very useful to monitor workouts more immediately than the app for cell phone. This is the Spanish translation of his answer: “We are already testing the app for IOS / ADROID. At the moment there will be no application for IOS watches, but we already have one for GARMIN. The new application will show more data and information than Humon had and you can also see and analyze them on the web. Regarding the APP there are three plans. 1. BASIC. Annual subscription It will allow the client to connect the following tools. · A Humon device or a MOXY · Access to all types of training, running, cycling, rowing and other · Access to interval exercise, resistance and threshold test · It will allow to connect GPS. · Download CSV FILE to see the activity in Excel on the same day that the EXERCISE was carried out. · Connect HRM. Pairing WTS meter is excluded. 2. ADVANCED. It… Read more »

iltenente

Yes, they are.
I don’t see my answer in the thread is normal?

Marathon Man

For some reason, recent posts don’t appear to show up unless you are logged in….

iltenente

Now I can see.