Need to learn how to relax and track physical activity? A fitness tracker can do that for you now. Spire claims its latest fitness tracker can tell wearers not only how much they’re moving but also how they’re feeling. It does this by tracking physical activity and breath, the latter of which is supposed to indicate mood. Plus, it tells the wearer how to feel better.
How the Spire device tracks movement and breath is through a sensor that can be attached pretty much anywhere on a person’s body as long as it is close to the body. The website suggests on a belt or a perched on a bra as possible locations for the device. From wherever the tracker is stationed it will gather data, sending the information to a smartphone to tell the user if he or she needs to take a deep breath if the wearer is particularly tense while working on a project.
Monitoring vitals besides movement is nothing new. The Fitbit and other fitness trackers monitor heart rate. These fitness trackers are part of a growing trend of health monitoring tech. They come in both hardware and in apps that turn a smartphone or tablet into a health-monitoring device. The Spire is one of the latest devices in this vein, but with a twist.
What makes the Spire unique is that it offers almost instantaneous feedback on what to do next, a new step for fitness trackers. Imagine a pedometer telling a user that he or she has been sitting still too long. It is basically the same idea, but with breathing. The device tells users when and how to take a deep breath to relieve tension due to stress, teaching them how to breathe deeply from the diaphragm. It can also tell when a wearer is content or focused, too, based on its breath-monitoring technology.
The reason the device focuses so much on breath is that it is tied to mood. Studies show that breathing patterns are affected by mood and vice versa, meaning that manipulating one can have an affect on the other. That is why Neema Moraveji, co-founder of Spire and director of Stanford University’s Calming Technology Lab, focused on breathing when helping to develop the Spire.
So far the device has gotten positive reviews in both VentureBeat and TechCrunch from reporters who have gotten to test the device. It is currently available for preorder via the company’s website. The preorder price is $119; it will later sell for $149.
A device that can double as a relaxation teacher is an interesting concept. Stress is associated with several health problems, including heart disease. A health monitor teaching its users a healthy habit with simple instructions will likely find customers.