Health and Wellness Wearables

Kanega Watch provides emergency connections for seniors on the go

Many traditional personal emergency response devices are limited in that they they traditionally keep seniors tethered to their homes. That’s an outmoded way in the era of powerful wearables.

Kanega Watch was designed to replace traditional emergency alert devices for seniors and doesn’t require a smartphone to operate. As an added plus, it’s more fashionable than many standard watches on the market. The company claims that focus groups have called Kanega a wearable version of OnStar for seniors because it provides discreet support for falls, medication reminders, and a guard against wandering, according to its Kickstarter campaign.

Kanega uses an easy speech interface rather than buttons and also features Bluetooth Smart technology and patent-pending quick-swap batteries that peel away from the watch for charging. The product costs $299 and will ship in February 2016. A separate charging cradle with two additional batteries is included. Replacement batteries are provided free with a  monitoring service that costs $35 to $85 a month depending on the service level chosen.

Kanega mostly relies on emergency notification but there have been other products that focus more on passive monitoring. Lively focuses on monitoring independent seniors in their homes although the company has come out with a wearable.

Kids/Babies Wearables

Baby Check checks on your baby’s health so you can rest easy

When someone is sick, they tell the doctor what’s wrong. Babies, however, can’t communicate except through crying. So when there’s a problem, it can be hard to tell right away whether it warrants a visit to the doctor or not.

Baby Check is a wearable for babies. Like many adult wearables, it keeps an eye on health by monitoring temperature, sleep, position and medicine administration. It stays on the arm and is made from safe materials meaning that it’s fine for baby to wear all day and night. The information detected by the armband syncs up with an accompanying Android/iOS app. It tracks data over time and allows for high temperature alarms to be set so that parents know exactly when their baby’s fever spikes. Baby Check runs on a rechargeable battery with a life of about one year.

All in all, Baby Check appears to be another great product for helicopter parents, much like the Fever Smart. While temperatures and sleep patterns aren’t essential for parents to keep super close track of, there’s value in being able to keep tabs on sleeping positions as babies aren’t supposed to sleep on their stomachs. Parents can donate $50 for their own with delivery in June 2015. Baby Check is hoping to raise $35,000 in funding on Kickstarter by April 1.

Health and Wellness Wearables

Electrode-studded InBody Band quantifies the self

Every new fitness band released to the market tries to one up everything else by including something that would make it worthwhile for someone who is considering wearing one day in and day out. The InBody Band does just that by taking the familiar and adding four electrodes in order to measure the body’s composition. By doing so, a more complete picture of the body can be created to more accurately inform users of their needs.

The four electrodes work in tandem by measuring bioelectrical impedance, which is often used to measure the body’s water composition, from which fat and muscle content can be derived. Together with the ability to track heart rate, steps taken, and sleep, the InBody Band is able to create a very detailed picture of the body over a period of time. In addition, it can also create call and SMS notifications for added convenience.

The InBody Band is extremely versatile, and able to take cues from other products that measure body composition like the MyBiody Balance sensor in order to create a more powerful wearable system. Although the iOS/Android app is able to sync to a user’s contact list and compare stats with others, it unfortunately doesn’t interface with either of the platform’s health apps, leaving the wealth of information stuck within the app. The product’s lack of size options and interchangeable bands may turn others off, as well. The product does make an attempt at differentiation, but it may not be enough to make a splash.

The $159 InBody Band is estimated to ship in March of this year if the campaign reaches its goal of $50,000 by March 13.


Pandle protects the germophobe from public handles

For the germaphobes of the world, going out in public can be a scary thing. Every door, bathroom, surface and public mint bowl contains bacteria and germs that could cause death! Or at least that’s what extremists think.

Pandle is a product for any such fearful person. It fits over any handle—whether it’s a door, car, or toilet handle, Pandle is there to cover it up. It’s made from rubber silicone infused with nanosilver. It can withstand extreme temperatures, and comes in five different colors: black, blue, red, purple, and green. A strap goes over the knuckles of the hand while the bendy part below covers the surface in question.

Oh, how so many products cater to the germ-obsessed. It’s okay to be clean, but an oven mitt for the outside world seems a bit extreme. Kids especially need to be exposed to germs in order to build up their immunities. Still, for those who can’t resist, one can be had for a donation of $10, expected to be delivered in March of this year. Pandle is looking for $10,000 in funding on Kickstarter by March 6.


MyBiody Balance sensor checks vitals, keeps you fit and healthy

Many connected fitness devices don’t provide health insights that go much beyond the number of steps being taken by the user and the number of calories burned.

MyBiody Balance from French company Biody Balance & Régime Connecté (BBRC) fully takes into account user data including age, weight, size and gender. It can be used by fitness enthusiasts, seniors, athletes, or any other consumers who would like a way to better monitor their health.

This portable device relies upon bioelectrical impedance (bio-impedance) analysis, a commonly used system of estimating body composition. The device performs an immediate body check-up when pressed against a user’s ankle, measuring and analyzing body composition accurately and in real time. In order to do this, it also takes into account muscle mass, hydration, fat mass, bone mineral content and excess weight. The data can easily be viewed on an intuitive dashboard available on smartphones, tablets and computers. The campaign seems to be missing from CrowdedRocket, but the product can still be checked out on the Web site.

MyBiody Balance may well be more accurate than many other wearable fitness devices on the market, such as SensoTRACK, Fitbit and Jawbone. However, MyBiody Balance lacks the wearable component of rival devices. Some consumers might see that as a benefit, but others, especially those who like to show off their latest tech gadgets, will see that as a drawback.  The latter camp may see this more as a medical instrument along the lines of a thermometer than an appealing new tech toy.

Health and Wellness Wearables

V1bes sensor ring diagnoses stress via heart rate, brainwaves

The monkey on our all our backs all the time is the one known as stress, but despite its ubiquity, most people don’t know much about what in their own lives causes it. Stress is a contributing factor in not only the sicknesses we contract but in our general psychological well being as well. Many would agree how incredibly important it is to be kept informed about the stress levels experienced day in and day out.

The V1bes sensor ring is another wearable piece of technology that also tracks heart rate, but for a good reason. Along with heart rate, it tracks brainwaves with its ability to perform an EEG, and the surrounding electro-magnetic pollution to produce personalized reports available through the companion iOS or Android app. These reports clue users in to what’s going on and offer suggestions as to how to reduce the stress currently being experienced.

One time tested approach to reducing stress is a bit of fun. To that effect, V1bes also offers enjoyable little distractions that can be facilitated with the ring. From analyzing electric activity in your muscles to “tell how strong someone is” to creating abstract looking bio-profiles from data gathered, the product can let its hair down as well. The campaign is looking for $25,000 to get the $199 product out to backers by September 2015.

The V1bes’ form factor hurts its versatility as it cannot be worn everywhere like the much more attractive Olive wristband. What it does is admirable, but there are too many moving parts and isn’t as polished something like an Olive. Look out for further iterations if you’re really interested.

Health and Wellness Sensors/IoT

MOCAheart looks after vitals, lets you check up on loved one’s hearts

Health monitors that send information to smartphones are becoming increasingly popular. It’s an easy way to collect important data and send off to doctors if need be. They also provide a way to track patterns and trends, hopefully catching harmful conditions early on so they don’t get worse.

MOCAheart is one such monitor. This small metal sensor about the size of a contact lens holder measures heart rate (bpm) and oxygen levels in the blood and sends such data to its accompanying smartphone app. With this information it generates the MOCA index, a number that tells you how you’re doing. Zero is low, but still okay. One is normal, two is slightly high, at three they recommend you make a doctor’s appointment and four means you should seek immediate medical attention.

In addition to monitoring your own health, MOCA hooks up with other MOCAheart owners through the app. This way, you can monitor the health of loved ones. The app also allows users to put notes next to their readings, like one man does in the campaign, saying that his vitals show he’s stressed because he has to work late. It also records the date and weather of each reading, demonstrating how lifestyle can affect blood pressure.

MOCAheart joins scores of other health devices that make monitoring one’s health super easy. The size of the sensor itself makes it convenient to carry around and the two touch method of reading vitals is too simple to mess up. Perhaps the best part, though, is the ability to check up on loved ones. This seems great for younger generations making sure their elderly parents or grandparents are okay. Though this could get annoying after a while, however productive. Backers can own their own for a donation of $99 with delivery in April 2015. MOCAheart is looking to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter.

Health and Wellness Smartwatches/Bands

Embrace smartwatch watches out for epilepsy, other conditions

There are lots of smartphone apps out there that measure our health. When the necessary information is put in, the app interprets high levels of stress, not enough sleep or other detrimental health effects. The one huge flaw with this model, however, is that the app assumes the information it’s given is correct. It’s difficult for people to measure their own vital signs if they’re not doctors.

Embrace cuts out the guesswork. This smartwatch monitors health and then relays that information to an accompanying app so that the data it provides is accurate. Embrace looks at sleep patterns, heart rate, stress levels and is especially adept at helping those with epilepsy. For parents or spouses who have loved ones with epilepsy, they too can wear an Embrace. When a seizure starts, the information is given to the app which will then alert designated caregivers that help is needed.

Embrace comes in different colors and two sizes: large for adults and small for kids. Best of all, the campaign is matching each smartwatch purchased 1:1. That means that for every Embrace given to a backer, one will be given to a child in need with epilepsy. The body of the watch is medical grade, but the band is Italian leather, secured with a magnet.

This smartwatch takes the very idea of a smartwatch even further. Most focus on receiving texts or e-mails or even monitoring run times. Embrace serves a bigger purpose by monitoring help and has the potential to save lives. Other than the fact that the magnet may not be the best securing method for a watch, Embrace sets itself apart from other frivolous smartwatches. Backers can have their very own for a donation of $189 for delivery in July 2015. Embrace hopes to raise $100,000 on Indiegogo.

Fitness Wearables

Arki walking coach tracks steps, coaches posture

Having good posture gets more and more important as time wears on. The older we get, the harder it is to straighten up, resulting in pain and injury.

Arki is a wearable band that monitors your posture while you walk. It learns habits, like walking and texting, and tracks these movements into an accompanying smartphone app via Bluetooth LE. By measuring arm swing speed, rotation angle relative to gravity, vibrations from feet and other data, Arki can tell whether you need to having better walking habits like taking measured steps, standing up straight and bending the arms and will let you know when to do this with a vibration.

Arki has several other features like using your walk as a passcode and compatibility with smart thermostats. All in all, walking is an important activity that we engage in, but like any other activity it has the potential of being done wrong. It’s nice to see a product that gives feedback for something so common that it is often forgotten. One will cost backers $149 with estimated delivery in April 2015. Arki is looking to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter.

Health and Wellness

UVIO skin scanner seeks out precancerous conditions

Unfortunately, the rate of skin cancer worldwide increases year after year, which is why getting a routine screening is highly recommended. Oddly enough, though, the jury is still out on how effective screenings are. Although they consist of a visual inspection by a trained physician, even trained physicians sometimes have difficulty telling the difference between benign skin irregularities and early forms of skin cancer.

One of the main reasons why it can be so difficult to positively detect skin cancers is because the signs that need to be found can exist underneath the skin, below what can be seen. Monarch Med is looking to ease the difficulties of skin cancer screening with their precancerous dermis scanner called UVIO. The product is a tube-shaped device outfitted with a camera that can take ultraviolet, infrared, and electro-optical images, a combination of imagery the company claims can greatly increase the success physicians can achieve in detecting cancerous cells. A Bluetooth, memory card, and a cabled USB version are being created in order to make the scanning technology available to a wider range of people at varying price points. The campaign is looking for $118,000 to begin production but there aren’t actual products to purchase as of yet.