Elegant Sleep Sensor, The Sense, Raises $120K In A Few Hours (@techcrunch)

The Sense is a sleep tracking device that measures temperature, humidity and ambient light.It goes for $99 with the campaign starting today, but pre-orders will start at $129. Proud’s company Hello is aiming for a $100,000 goal. He hasn’t disclosed external venture funding, but you could assume there’s probably some significant round given that they’ve been working secretly on the product for about a year.

In addition to tracking temperature and light, his device has a particulate sensor that can detect small particles like pollen that can disrupt sleep for people with allergies. A “smart alarm” can wake a person up at the right time in their sleep cycle, like early forerunners in the space from several years ago like the Zeo.

This is cool although probably very imperfect in determining what wakes a person up in the middle of the night, since there are plenty of things that go on internally within your body that impact sleep habits that a device like this won’t likely be able to pick up on.

There is also obviously a lot of competition in this space from health wearables (e.g. Fitbit) and other software companies. It’s funny, in trying to categorize it as a product, it’s competing against wearables but it isn’t really a wearable.

As of now, they’re up to a little over $150,000 on Kickstarter.

Jawbone Said to Be Raising $300 Million at $3 Billion Valuation

Via Bloomberg:

Jawbone, the maker of wearable Web-connected devices, is raising $300 million at a valuation of about $3 billion, two people with knowledge of the deal said. Rizvi Traverse Management LLC, one of the biggest investors in Twitter Inc. (TWTR), will probably lead the financing, which is oversubscribed, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the round hasn’t closed.

iWatch + iOS 8: Apple sets out to redefine mobile health, fitness tracking

Apple plans for iOS 8 to include an application codenamed “Healthbook.” The software will be capable of monitoring and storing fitness statistics such as steps taken, calories burned, and miles walked. Furthermore, the app will have the ability to manage and track weight loss. The software will be a pre-installed challenger to offerings such as those from Nike and Fitbit, making it all the more intriguing that Apple CEO Tim Cook still sits on Nike’s Board of Directors.

The thing is even if the software isn’t as well-designed as Nike or Fitbit’s, as long as it tracks the same metrics, this gives Apple a huge advantage because of the hardware consolidation angle. The same question that trickled down when smartphones first started integrating GPS will be asked here: “what do I need an expensive, single-use device for when this functionality is built into my phone already?” When that question gets asked en masse, expect Fitbit, Jawbone and the others to make like Garmin and ditch the hardware in favor of building a better mousetrap on the software side in order to survive.

MatchUp: organize group challenges using FitBit & other health wearables (@matchup_io)

c/o MatchUp

MatchUp: Group Fitness Tracking

This looks really cool. Of course this is perfect for rec leagues, Meetups and other more informal health groups. But I could also see companies that are already at the forefront of corporate wellness using this at scale since a lot of people feel more empowered and motivated to work out regularly when they’re in groups or at least tied together in some form of group competition. Curious to see the beta.

The project comes from 3binary, a development outfit in Chicago.

h/t Betalist

How the iPhone 5S replaced my Fitbit (@cnet)

After I told the Fitbit app to start tracking my activities with my iPhone 5S, the company promptly sent me an e-mail nudging me to upgrade to a full fitness tracker. And it’s true: Fitbit’s dedicated trackers have some advantages, such as also tracking your sleep patterns, the minutes you’re “active,” and the number of floors climbed. But the iPhone 5S’ basic activity tracking is “good enough” for me — especially since I felt the Fitbit’s sleep tracking never worked all that well — and I appreciate the chance to eliminate another device from my pocket.

That’s always the goal from a consumer’s standpoint. And it’s why the wearable hardware that ends up being successful will evolve towards being generic & malleable enough to be placed anywhere on your person and to be controlled (and to have its data dissected) by your smartphone. Wearables tied to only one use case (e.g. fitness trackers) with no other practical utility will see themselves phased out, as their functionality becomes cannibalized and adapted into smartphones.

Lift helps you set goals, crowdsources their achievement (@liftapp)

I read a lot of blogs from technology investors & VCs and decided to check out Lift after reading Bijan Sabet’s post about it. It’s an app that crowdsources goal setting and achievement for a variety of different habits as diverse as daily meditation and de-cluttering your house or workspace. The UI is clean and very minimalistic, not unlike most apps in the category. Of course YMWV, as any productivity app requires an equal effort from the user to get the most out of it.

The other interesting thing about the app for founders & developers is the monetization angle, which it looks like the Lift team has already started working on. I found one goal, in particular, on the “Health & Diet” called “21 Days to Your Best Sleep Ever.” It provides the user with a daily tip or suggestion that may help elicit a deeper, longer-lasting sleep. It’s also provided by the editors of Health Magazine/Health.com. Did they pay for that content to be added as its own goal? If so, it’s a really unique form of advertising that reaches the early adopter set that might not have read that content on their web site or signed up for an e-mail course on the subject. But packaged in an experience in which the user is already assumed to be amenable to making life changes, that content may be engaged with much more than it otherwise would have been. The content marketer in me is nodding in approval. The question is whether or not this strategy is making enough for Lift as an entity.

photo (4)

Calm.com also sponsors an Intro to Meditation program that’s one one of the featured plans, if you go to their web site.

The app is available for both iOS and Android. I’ll do a post in another week or two and map where I’m at with some of the goals I’ve chosen.

First FDA-Approved Thermometer that Uses Your Smartphone (@HollyPavlika)

The device is useful enough as-is but this is the future they’re looking to map out:

insa’s vision is adding additional software features to provide alerts when there is an illness outbreak in the local area or at your child’s school. “By combining a thermometer with a smartphone, we’ve created a communication channel with the ill, providing users with far more value than today’s thermometers can,” explained Inder Singh, founder and CEO of Kinsa. Imagine checking the ‘health weather’ and getting a real-time understanding of where any sickness might be in your neighborhood.

If taken in aggregate, I think this could be extremely helpful, so long as each individual’s data remains private. The potential for an individual “sick house” to be pointed out on a map is something of a scary proposition though. Nor would it do much to bring down the root cause of sicknesses that spread around schools to begin with: parents that continue bringing their kids to school even when they’re sick!

The Future of Medicine: Ingestible Sensors

Yesterday, I made the prediction that Glass and wearable computing in general would evolve over a 10 year lifecycle to reach mass market. Double that time for initiatives like this. Especially when you factor in regulatory considerations and how long it would take the FDA (and their international equivalents) to give it the green light. And of course the privacy concerns will always give a certain segment of the population pause because now you’re dealing with very sensitive data outputs that have traditionally been protected by the patient-doctor relationship. But it may be worth it if this proves to be true:

One of the biggest health advantages of these devices is using the machines to help treat chronic illnesses, said Arna Ionescu, director of product development and user experience at Proteus Biomedical, which is working to make digital medicines. “The thing about chronic illness it’s not something that can be solved at one appointment, it’s something that you have to manage and deal with every single day of your life,” Ionescu said. “So we are creating tools that can go in peoples’ hands and help them deal with those chronic illness.”