Triton lets you breathe underwater like Aquaman, ignore small talk with fish

editors-choiceWitnessing the aquatic nature underneath lapping island waves is an activity imbued with wonder. But while it’s easy to marvel wonder at the unique, vibrant underwater life teeming below, it can be a little uncomfortable having to wear huge tanks with a limited supply of oxygen to explore.

Way back when, Sean Connery’s 007 was given the solution to this problem in the form of a small device that could be worn underwater to breathe normally while swimming. Now, that device is actually here. Titled the Triton, the lightweight re-breather allows anyone from snorkelers to lifeguards to breathe underwater without any addition equipment. A clever implementation of technology works to make this happen, with the device’s microporous hollow fiber keeping out water molecules while still letting in oxygen.


Sleep Sensei lulls you to sleep with fun lights, calm breathing patterns

Many people have trouble sleeping. There are few natural options out there that can help. Lack of sleep can disrupt daytime life immensely and is extremely unhealthy.

Using lights, Sleep Sensei can help restless people fall asleep. This small device about the size of two alarm clocks sits on the bedside table. It uses soft, red lights to mimic breathing patterns. When you first crawl into bed, the lights are fast, getting brighter when you inhale and dimmer when you exhale. As you doze off, the lights become slower to slow down breath, which is what causes sleep to happen. The device pivots to different angles and features a knob that lets the user adjust brightness and speed of the lights.

While this product has a sensible purpose behind it, it seems like a lot of clutter compared to taking a couple of Unisom tablets. And the design leaves some room for improvement, slightly resembling some kind of mini Medieval catapult. Backers will need to donate $40 for an assembled Sleep Sensei with estimated delivery in September 2015. This product is hoping to raise $2,500 with the help of Kickstarter.


Backerjack Podcast #14: Breathing Sensors, Social Servers, and Heat-Seeking Bedroom Bots

In Episode 14 of the Backerjack Podcast, Steve and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders:

  • Neobase, a home server that lets you create your own private Facebook for sharing with your (small) circle of friends. Now all your base are belong to you!
  • Wakē, a focused light and speaker combo that mounts over your bed to wake you gently without disturbing those sharing the budoir
  • Prana, a wearable sensor that scores your breathing and posture and lets you practice via a video game

Many thanks to SnapPower for sponsoring this episode! Please support its campaign.

Download  the episode or listen below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and follow Backerjack on Twitter and Facebook. Also check out Steve’s great work on Apple World Today!


Prana wearable tells you how to breathe easy, take a stand

Today, most wearable are focused on measuring the number of steps one takes per day. It’s a useful measure of daily activity, but there is far more to understanding one’s well-being.

Prana looks like many fitness trackers that clip to a waistband, but it takes a different approach, measuring things that many other product are not – breathing and posture. Prana calculates a score for both and allows a number of ways to actively improve, including a videogame controlled by your breathing and respiration exercises associated with practices such as tai chi and yoga. San Franciso-based Prana Tech seeks $100,000 by April 30th. The price for a Prana is $129, a $20 discount from its expected retail price. The device is expected to ship in July.

Prana competes with Spire, which measures activity in addition to breathing. Spire is ahead of the curve when it comes to interpreting the meaning of certain breathing patterns, but Prana’s measurement of posture is a nice bonus as that has previously been the domain of other wearables; its active training is also more interactive than Spire’s.


Connected Objects Fitness Health and Wellness

PrO2 helps you breathe easy when it comes to personal fitness

pro2Anyone who has stepped on a treadmill for the first time in months knows how quickly breath leaves unfit lungs. Fitness and how hard one can push themselves has so much to do with how easy it is to breathe. PrO2 is a device that can monitor a baseline breath and with that create a training program to help build endurance and ease of breath. Sending its readouts to any smartphone or tablet, PrO2 is quick and easy to use. The wait-and-see approach of PrO2 feels outdated, however, considering the real-time input/output cycle of wearable fitness trackers and even breathing trackers like Spire. PrO2 will hit the ground running in September for $199.

Relaxation Wearables

Spire provides a take on stress reduction to let you breathe easier

The Premise. Activity trackers are popular for good reason, evolving far beyond the original concept of a smart pedometer. From physical activity to heart rate, these wearable devices can seemingly track whatever anyone might need. Now, there’s one to keep track of breathing as well.

The Product. Spire is a tiny tracker that can be clipped onto any piece of tight fitting clothing and monitors breathing in order to make an assessment about a person’s state of mind. From anxiety to extreme focus, each emotion comes with its own breathing patterns, which Spire can identify and send alerts to a phone to keep the wearer calm and collected. Additionally, Spire can track time spent sitting, standing, lying down, or walking, providing additional balance to daily life. Spire also charges wirelessly with its own charging pad or any Qi charging pad.

The Pitch. The introductory video for Spire is empowering, artistic, and strongly filmed, while also managing to say almost nothing about the product itself. Aside from a few screenshots of the app and a glimpse of the device’s clip tucked into a waistband, it’s hard to determine what the device does or how it’s used. The website makes up for this by offering an exhaustive FAQ section that covers everything from what the device does to where the name “Spire” comes from. The website is otherwise what backers have come to expect from a proprietary pre-order site, with big full-size graphics that are fixed to the background.

The Perks. Spire is available for $119, comes with a charging pad for the device, and ships in September.

The Potential. Spire is a great concept, especially for people who suffer from respiratory problems or anxiety and aren’t accustomed to breathing normally in certain situations. Unfortunately, the device feels a little one-note in terms of its function and cost, and so it’s hard to see consumers opting for this over other wearable activity trackers. Whether Spire rolls more functionality into their device or a similar breath tracker appears as a feature in a different tracker, a more complete package needs to be made available to make these functions worth wearing every day, everywhere. Add to this the fact the device is currently only supported on iOS devices (Android compatibility is being worked on), and Spire seems like a niche product carved into an even smaller niche.