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Nix Hydration Biosensor review: for the athlete who sweats the details



Everywhere I look, people and gadgets are yelling at me to hydrate. On social media, the algorithm bombards me with fitness and beauty influencers who say I should drink a gallon of water a day. (Glowing skin! Shed that last stubborn five pounds! More energy!) The various smartwatches I test all have these hydration widgets for tracking my daily water intake. Not too long ago, I had a “smart” water bottle that flashed hourly rainbow LED lights as a reminder to drink up. Most recently, I’ve been wearing this little pod on my bicep. It, too, tells me to hydrate — but in a way that’s surprisingly useful.

The $129 Nix Hydration Biosensor is a pod-and-patch combo that alerts endurance athletes when they should hydrate during a workout. It claims to give personalized hydration recommendations, as well as calculate your individual electrolyte loss depending on certain factors like weather and sweat rate. It’s overkill. Hydration doesn’t need to be this expensive or complicated. But for data nerds and endurance athletes, the Nix sensor does offer some practical guidance that, for some, may just be worth the price.

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Easier to use than Gatorade’s sweat patches

A few months ago, I tested the Gatorade Smart Gx bottle and the Gx Sweat Patch. It was another gadget-patch combo that claimed to read your sweat in the name of more intelligent hydration, but I wasn’t a fan. Not only did it feel like a vehicle to sell me more Gatorade, the sweat patch never worked for me. It left me wary that the Nix sensor would also be a device that was better in concept than execution. But while the products are similar, Nix delivers a better overall experience.

The Nix sensor has two components: a reusable sensor pod and single-use patches. The patches are made of a latex-free adhesive that’s comfortable to wear. It reminds me of KT Tape in that it’s flexible enough to move with you but sticky enough not to slide off your skin when you start sweating. The patches are small (2.75in diameter), and I didn’t have any issue fitting it on my bicep. Before a workout, all you have to do is align the pod with the grooves in the patch’s sensor attachment and twist until it locks in place.

Close up of the hexagonal Nix sweat patch showing area where pod sensor clips in.

The patches have an attachment where you clip in the Nix sensor pod. Then you peel off the backing and slap it on your bicep.

Close up of the back of the Nix Hydration Biosensor podClose up of the back of the Nix Hydration Biosensor pod

The back of the sensor pod. To lock or unlock it from either the charging case or patch, you align the grooves and twist.

While the sensor and patch were easy enough to wear, the big test was whether it’d be able to read my sweat, especially since I’m testing this in the winter. Not only do I sweat less in winter, but I’m not one of those robot runners who can log 10 miles in the freezing wind in nothing but a T-shirt and shorts. Aside from sweat detection, I was curious to see whether the sensor would catch on my long sleeves or if wearing multiple layers would cause any issues.

Apparently, my bicep is sweatier than my forearm, and it made a difference. According to Nix, the bicep is one of the best places to estimate your total bodily fluid and electrolyte loss while delivering a good user experience. (Gatorade’s patches go on the forearm, and neither patch is validated for other parts of the body.) On three out of four test runs, the Nix sensor was easily able to get a reading. I’ll get into my botched run below, but I assure you it wasn’t because it couldn’t detect sweat. As for my sleeves, I didn’t have any problems except for when I had to reconnect the sensor after already putting on my shirt. All that means is, in winter, you’ve got to be careful to make sure everything’s connected before you head out.

Nix also makes it easier to upload and sync data. It basically works like any smartwatch or fitness tracker. When you’re done with the workout, you end it in the app, wait for Bluetooth to do its thing, and voilá. Data appears. (Syncing can take a hot second, but that’s not unusual.) You can do this with the patch on or off, too. Conversely, Gatorade makes you snap a picture of the patch, and the whole system relies on analyzing the sweat-activated ink pattern on a used patch, which, if you’re not sweaty enough, won’t work. Even if you are sweaty enough, sometimes you’ll have to retake the photo as well.

Another thing I appreciated was the charging case. It might seem too big, given the size of the pod, but I actually like that. I’ve used and misplaced plenty of foot pods and other small wearables with small cases. This is big enough to easily find, whether it’s on a nightstand or stashed in a bag. Plus, the lid has a slot where you can stick a patch for convenience. And because it’s a charging case, you don’t really have to worry about the battery. The sensor pod lasts 36 hours on a single charge, but so long as you’re putting it back in the case when you’re done, you won’t have to worry about it for a few months.

Picture of Nix charging case and sensor pod side by side.Picture of Nix charging case and sensor pod side by side.

This charging case might seem big given the how small the sensor pod is, but it also makes it harder to lose.

Nix also provides real-time hydration alerts. This was a hit-or-miss feature for me since the alerts mostly come from the Nix app on your phone. If I had the Nix app open and on screen, the alerts were more noticeable. If I decided to have one of my many other fitness apps open, I tended to miss them entirely. You can opt to get them on your Apple Watch or certain Garmin smartwatches, but again, I’ve customized my workout views to show me exactly what I want to see, so this wasn’t my favorite option. Plus, the app warns that it can take about 25 minutes before there’s enough sweat for the sensor to read, but it could also take a bit longer. During one test, I didn’t see any relevant data until 35 minutes into the run and constantly checking took me out of the zone. I like distraction-free running, so I preferred reviewing my data after a workout and then applying what I learned to the next. But, at the risk of dogpiling on Gatorade, at least you have the option for real-time alerts if you want them.

Connectivity could be better

While the Nix sensor wipes the floor with Gatorade’s sweat patch, there are some downsides. For me, the biggest one is connectivity. While I didn’t have much trouble with the sensor’s Bluetooth during setup, it crapped out on me twice during testing. One of those times was pretty minor. I’d already finished an hour-long run when I noticed the sensor had lost connection to my phone. Because I was home, I was able to take the pod out of the patch and reinsert it before getting in the shower. Everything reconnected, problem solved. I was also still able to upload my data.

The second time was my botched test run. I had put a fully charged pod into a patch, correctly placed it on my bicep, got dressed, laced up my shoes, started up all my other wearables, and… forgot to hit start in the Nix app. (It was early, and I’m not a morning person.) I didn’t notice my goof until halfway through a 105-minute long run. I tried to start a belated workout — some data is better than no data, right? — but the pod wouldn’t connect to my phone. This was despite the fact I could see the Nix was on, and if LED indicator lights are to be believed, working. I tried fiddling with the sensor, locked and unlocked the sensor through my sleeve, turned my phone on and off, and then tried turning the pod on and off. No luck. I tried the whole rigamarole a few more times later in the run, just in case it was my location. Nada. It wouldn’t reconnect to my phone until I was back home. At that point, I tried to see if it could upload my sweat data but no luck there, either.

I made a silly mistake, but not an implausible one

That royally sucked. I missed out on valuable long-run data, and long runs are when hydration is most important! Even worse, these are single-use patches, and I’d wasted one. It costs $25 for a refill pack of four, meaning each patch is $6.25. Human error played a large role in this, but better connectivity could’ve at least saved the situation. I made a silly mistake, but not an implausible one.

I get why the sweat patches are single-use. Adhesives never stick quite as well after the first time. Plus, you’d have to wash off old sweat for accurate data, and adhesives break down with water and soap. But knowing this doesn’t stop these patches from feeling wasteful — both monetarily and environmentally. Nix does have a partnership with Terracycle, so you can at least recycle used patches for free. I appreciate the option, but I had to root through Nix’s FAQs to even find out about it, and the whole process requires a bunch of extra steps. People are lazy, and I have a feeling most used Nix patches will end up in a landfill anyway.

Close up of Nix sensor pod with the green indicator light up top on.Close up of Nix sensor pod with the green indicator light up top on.

The sensor has a green LED indicator light so you know when it’s on and working. Depending on your workout clothing, you might also be able to see it through your sleeves.

While I’m airing my gripes, it’s a bummer that the Nix sensor doesn’t support workout types outside of indoor/outdoor running and cycling. You don’t really need granular hydration data for yoga, pumping iron at the gym, or a short HIIT workout, but it’d be nice for long hikes, other types of strenuous cardio, or outdoor sports. Hopefully, Nix will add support for more activity types down the line.

I was also disappointed to see Nix is iOS-only at the moment. The company says that Android compatibility is slated for this month (February 2023), but it wasn’t available when I was testing the device.

Data fit for Type A athletes

To get accurate results, Nix recommends a sweaty run or cycling session that lasts at least 45 minutes. Once you successfully log a workout, the app spits out a summary that includes the exercise, whether it was indoors or outdoors, and what you used to hydrate. You’ll also see temperature, humidity, dew point, solar load, wind, and altitude. As for hydration metrics, the app will tell you how much fluid and electrolytes you lost during the workout, as well as your sweat composition (aka, how salty your sweat is).

There’s also a more general sweat profile that aggregates data from multiple workouts. There you can see your estimated sweat rate, electrolyte loss rate, sweat composition, and Nix Index, a proprietary score that’s meant to show how sweaty a particular workout was for you.

Person holding Nix sensor in palm with open charging case in the background.Person holding Nix sensor in palm with open charging case in the background.

I like how you can also stick a patch in the top of the charging case’s lid.

When I told my spouse about this, they gave me a withering look. It’s the same one they give me whenever I explain a new doodad I’m testing and the data it tracks. It’s derision incarnate. You see, my spouse and I are polar opposites when it comes to fitness data. My spouse is one of those naturally gifted athletes who manage to run like the wind on four hours of sleep and a half-eaten protein bar. They only begrudgingly use an Apple Watch to stream music because they can’t be bothered with offline playlists. They have never once reviewed their workout stats. This sensor isn’t for easy-going Type B athletes like my spouse.

It’s for people like me, the Type A doofuses that use color-coded spreadsheets for training logs and set out their workout clothes the night before. The nerds who look up and compare multiple training plans and energy goo nutrition labels before settling on one. The ones who look in the mirror and think, “I, a quantified sicko, can be optimized for maximum performance.”


The app is fairly simple, but I found the hydration beverage chart helpful.

I’m fully aware that I don’t need Nix to run a well-hydrated 13.1 miles. I’ve run plenty of races before I ever tried Nix and have always crossed the finish line in one piece. But I also know I can do better. I appreciate knowing I sweat about 7.8 ounces of fluid and 365mg of electrolytes per hour in the winter. I like knowing I should use a sports drink with roughly 47mg of electrolytes per ounce. You can do the math yourself, but it’s a headache. Sports drink companies don’t make it easy to figure out and compare electrolyte levels, and marketing tends to focus on carbs instead.

That’s why it’s cool that there’s a handy chart right in this app I can reference that lets me compare electrolyte levels of popular sports drink brands. Turns out Liquid IV is the one that most closely matches my electrolyte needs. It’s not hard proof, but anecdotally, my training has improved since I coincidentally made the switch from Maurtens a few months ago. I will 100 percent use this information when I’m preparing my next long run.

The bottom line is it helps me plan my runs, which in turn alleviates my anxiety about completing said runs to my ridiculous and arbitrary standards. If planning helps you feel more confident about a run or a biking session, then there are a few scenarios where I can see the Nix sensor being a worthy investment.

Close-up of the Nix sensor pod in profile view while attached to the patch on someone’s arm.Close-up of the Nix sensor pod in profile view while attached to the patch on someone’s arm.

The sensor pod isn’t that thick, either, so it fit comfortably under my long sleeve tech shirts. Just make sure everything’s connected and ready to go before you step out the door.

For example, if you’re a triathlete who frequently races in all sorts of climates. The Nix could be helpful in fine-tuning your hydration strategy whenever you train in an unfamiliar environment. Or, if you’re particularly heat sensitive, this might help you increase summer mileage safely. People just starting to tackle longer distances could also benefit. Personally, I’d have liked a starting point when I was new to hydration and fueling strategies.

But paying $130 for a sensor and $25 for patch refills is a lot, especially since you’re not going to be wearing a patch for every workout. For most people, this is most effective as a benchmark tool that you break out when the weather, your environment, or your training regimens change. A little extra to give you a slight edge. That’s the thing about gadgets like these. They’re not essential. They’re a “nice to have” if, and only if, the expense makes sense.

If you’re sold on the idea of hydration patches and trying to decide between this and Gatorade Gx patches — just go with Nix. It’s more expensive up front, but in the long run, you get four patches in a $25 refill compared to two. It’s also more thoughtfully designed, works reliably, and gives you more actionable data. It’s what Gatorade was trying to do, but better.

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Twitter says source code was leaked on GitHub, now it’s trying to find the culprit



Parts of Twitter’s source code were recently leaked online via GitHub, the New York Times reports, but were taken down after the social media platform filed a DMCA request. The request, which GitHub has published online, notes that the leaked information included “proprietary source code for Twitter’s platform and internal tools.” 

The NYT notes that the source code maybe have been public for several months before being removed — the GitHub profile associated with the DMCA takedown lists a single (non-public) code contribution from early January. The name of the account is listed as “FreeSpeechEnthusiast,” in an apparent reference to Twitter CEO Elon Musk calling himself a “free speech absolutist” in the past.

Twitter has asked for the names and IP addresses of anyone that downloaded the code

Proprietary source code is often among a company’s most closely held trade secrets. Making it public risks revealing its software’s vulnerabilities to would-be attackers, and can also give competitors an advantage by being able to see non-public internal workings. Source code has been a common target for hackers in the past, including in attacks on Microsoft, and the Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red. 

As well as asking GitHub to take down the code, Twitter submitted a court filing in California in an attempt to find the person responsible, and to get information on any other GitHub users who may have downloaded the data. Bloomberg reports that the filing asked the court to order GitHub to reveal users’ names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, social media profiles, and IP addresses.

A spokesperson for GitHub did not respond to questions about whether it would comply with Twitter’s request to supply identifying information, and an email sent to Twitter’s official press address received an auto-generated poop emoji in response. (Twitter’s press office was disbanded shortly after Musk’s acquisition.)

According to the NYT, Twitter executives suspect that an employee who left the company last year may be responsible for the leak. But that doesn’t exactly narrow things down given Musk laid off thousands of the company’s staff shortly after taking control of the social media network. Fears that departing employees might attempt to sabotage the business on their way out have reportedly led Twitter to implement code freezes ahead of layoffs. 

News of the leaked source code comes just days before Twitter will supposedly open source “all code used to recommend tweets” on March 31st. But open-sourcing a recommendation algorithm like this (if it actually goes ahead this time), will likely reveal far less of the company’s proprietary code than the recent leak posted on GitHub. 

Twitter has been through a turbulent time since its acquisition by Musk last year. The Tesla CEO, who paid $44 billion for Twitter last year but now says it’s worth just $20 billion, has been attempting to overhaul the social media network with an intense focus on cost-cutting and building out new revenue opportunities like its paid Twitter Blue subscriptions. But the core reliability of the service appears to have suffered as a result, with several outages and interruptions reported in recent months.

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Alibaba founder Jack Ma returns to China after a year of uncertainty



Jack Ma’s whereabouts are making headlines again roughly a year after the billionaire founder of Alibaba disappeared from the public eye.

Bloomberg reported Monday that Ma had chosen to stay abroad despite China’s efforts to restore confidence in entrepreneurs, citing unnamed sources. Within hours, however, news surfaced that Ma actually visited an Alibaba-funded K-12 school in Hangzhou, according to an article published by the school, Yungu.

The Bloomberg article had since been updated to reflect Ma’s appearance in Hangzhou, home to the founder and Alibaba, where he talked about how ChatGPT posed a challenge to education during the school visit.

The renewed attention to Ma’s location comes at a time when China is trying to voice support for the private sector following a years-long crackdown on the tech industry, including shelving the IPO plans of Ant Group, the fintech affiliate of Alibaba. The movement prompted some founders to move abroad and seek overseas expansion.

The news of Ma also comes as Chinese tech firms are facing unprecedented pressure in the West. Last Thursday, U.S. lawmakers grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew in a congressional hearing that spanned five hours, firing harsh questions that brought to light the irreconcilable differences between the two superpowers. The hearing, as one Chinese founder said to TechCrunch, sent a chill up their spine.

TikTok isn’t the only one running into roadblocks in the U.S. A group of “businesses and individuals” have formed a “Shut Down Shein” campaign to question the business practices of Shein, the Singapore-headquartered fast fashion giant that has risen to global dominance thanks to its data-driven supply chains in China. Shein refuted a report that it faced risks of being shut down in the U.S.

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GitHub takes down repository containing Twitter’s source code



Microsoft-owned GitHub took down a repository by a user named “FreeSpeechEnthusiast” that contained proprietary source code to Twitter after the social network filed a DCMA takedown request. The username certainly seems to be a jab at Twitter owner Elon Musk, who has claimed to be a “free speech absolutist” many times.

On Friday, Twitter filed a petition in the District Court of Northern California asking GitHub to take down the code and also help it find the perpetrator. The subpoena asks GitHub to disclose name(s), address(es), telephone number(s), email address(es), social media profile data, and IP address(es) linked with “FreeSpeechEnthusiast”.

The development comes days before March 31, when Musk will supposedly make Twitter’s algorithm related to the recommendation open source.

It’s not clear what part of Twitter was leaked on GitHub and for what duration. GitHub’s DCMA takedown blog just mentioned it took down the repository containing “Proprietary source code for Twitter’s platform and internal tools.”

The code-hosting site didn’t say if any users were able to access the repository before the company took it down. We have asked for a comment and will update the story if we hear back.

Twitter might be concerned about copies of the code that might not be present on GitHub. Twitter’s internal investigation suggested that the people who were responsible for the leak left the company last year, as per a report from the New York Times. The story also suggested that the social network’s executives got to know about the code leak only recently.

The company is facing a tough time after Musk’s takeover last year. Recent reports suggest that the Tesla CEO now values Twitter at $20 billion — less than half of the $44 billion he paid for the social network. According to a report from the New York Times, Musk also wrote an email to employees to announce a new stock compensation program that said Twitter could be worth $250 billion one day.

To get Twitter’s finances in better shape, Musk has taken radical steps for cost-cutting including mass layoffs and relaunching a new subscription program that offers verification as one of the benefits. According to data from analytics firm Sensor Tower, Twitter has managed to just get $11 million out of this new service. For comparison, Twitter registered $1.17 billion in revenue for Q2 2022.

At a recent conference, Musk said that time on users’ Twitter is poorly monetized.

“The average amount of time that people spend on Twitter per day that 250 million [monthly active users] is around half an hour or so. So what we have is — the thing that’s I think most interesting — is there are about 120 to 130 million hours of human attention per day on Twitter,” he said

“Every single day on, average, which is — I think it comes to a really interesting point which is to — just it’s startling how poorly monetized that is — because you have to say like how valuable is that attention 100 to 130 million hours of human attention per day of people that read — so these are the generally the smartest people in the world, the most influential people in the world.”

As expected, when we reached out to Twitter, we got a poop emoji.

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