Spire checks breathing patterns and state of mind
June 18, 2014 by Nancy Owano
When we think of the marketplace in fitness tracking, the usual device goal is assumed to be measuring activity performance and well being while the user is running, jogging, power walking, or cycling. Something new made its entry on Tuesday as a stone-shaped device called Spire, a mobile tracker with a twist. This tracker wants to tell you how you are breathing, and your state of mind. "Your breath reflects your state of mind. Your state of mind is influenced by how you breathe." So begins a video explaining why the Spire team cared to work on this device that focuses on breathing. Spire's web site presents its small device sitting on a coaster-like circle, the top of the device monogrammed with what looks like a wishbone on a stick, or a creative-font Y. Featuring a seven-day battery, according to a company press release, Spire charges wirelessly using the Qi wireless charging standard and includes a charging pad.
Focused? Frazzled? Spire checks out breathing patterns for answers. Spire also provides push notifications and activity recommendations to help users attain a balanced and focused day. Spire devices will begin shipping September this year. Spire will retail for $149 but is available at a limited pre-order price now at $119. Each Spire will ship with the stone, clasp, and Spire wireless charger with power cable.
Tuesday was the big day for the Spire team as they said they were taking their own deep breath to push the button. "Four years, 74 prototypes, eight apps, and about 1 million breaths analyzed, we are proud to make Spire available to the world," as they began taking pre-orders for Spire. The creators said the science of Spire reflected years and years of research showing the link between body, breath and mind, with the concept that breath not only reflects but influences one's state of mind. While taking a deep breath to get on with something difficult seems like an obvious part of life without digital aids, the breathing that the team is referring to is more complex. Spire measures over 10 characteristics of each breath cycle to assess levels of stress, focus, and more, said Neema Moraveji, Ph.D, Spire co-founder and chief product officer. He likened it to a weather app, only this time providing insights into your different states of mind, not sunny and rainy patches, along with fitness data. The team blogged Tuesday: "We had a lot of work to do to capture the signal, make sense of the stream, and make it understandable and actionable for the end user."
The device measures streaks of focus and periods of tension. In measuring breathing patterns, Spire displays the user's state of mind and can prompt the user when a change in breathing would beneﬁt well-being or health. Spire is a stone shaped, wireless charging device that is wearable in that you clip it to a belt or bra strap and can be worn on the hip or torso. Writing in TechCrunch, Josh Constine described the device in more detail: "The screenless, buttonless gray speckled Spire is about the size of a remote car door opener, fitting in the palm of your hand. A metal clip attaches it to your belt or bra—anywhere it will move as you breathe. You can wear it facing out on you jeans like a little high-tech fashion statement, or tuck it behind. Spire pairs with your phone over Bluetooth Low-Energy, sending data to its companion app in real-time."
As for specifics on which mobile devices are supported, Spire will ship first on iOS (iOS 7.1 required) and is compatible with the Apple iPhone 4S, 5, 5S, 5C, iPod Touch (5th gen), iPad (3rd and 4th gen), iPad mini, and iPad Air. According to Spire, "We are working on the Android version of the app."
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