Spire Takes Wearables Beyond Steps, Measuring Breaths to Track Mood

Spire Takes Wearables Beyond Steps, Measuring Breaths to Track Mood

When Neema Moraveji and Jonathan Palley first started working on Spire, a wearable device that tracks movement but also measures state of mind, there were no wearables on the market. A few years later, it seems like almost everyone is clipping on a tiny device to track movement and fitness. But to Palley, the device explosion isn’t a bad thing. “We’re pretty happy Fitbit and Jawbone came up when they did,” he says. “To be frank, they educated the market for us.”

When Spire launches preorders of its device today, the challenge isn’t convincing consumers that they need another fitness tracker, he says. Consumers are already on board with that. It’s showing them that wearables can be more than just digital pedometers.

According to Palley, the average American moves for about 16 percent of his day. Even with encouragement and data about your own movement, he says, at most you can increase that to about 20 percent. “The problem we’re solving is what about that other 80 percent of the day? We have to spend time in front of our computers. Is that totally lost time, or are there opportunities to be healthier and more productive during that period of time, and how can technology assist you?”

For Palley and Moraveji, founder of Stanford’s Calming Technology Lab, that means using Spire, a small, stone-shaped device that clips onto a waistband or a bra to measure your breathing and analyze your state of mind. Breathing patterns can tell you when you’re stressed, when you’re calm, and when you’re intensely focused. The device can measure those factors—not just your breath rate, but 10 different metrics associated with breathing—and track your mood throughout the day. Its accompanying app will also ping users and, suggest, for example, that they go for a walk, or take ten deep breaths in a row to help reduce stress levels. Users can also tailor reminders to fit their needs, check out patterns in their stress levels, and use the app for things like guided meditation.

To Palley, wearables are useless if they only provide data; the utility is getting users to take action. Devices that only track fitness might tell you to walk 500 more steps today, but if you’re stuck … Next Page »

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  • Scott Mendelson

    Finally, a device that can answer the age-old question, “Are we having fun yet?”