We don’t generally cover products here that are just fitness devices. However, I’m making an exception for the Flip health and fitness monitor because it could be a bellwether for Health Tech wearable devices of the future. I saw this at CES 2015, and it has an intriguing form factor; it clips onto your ear.
Now, the Flip itself has only modest capabilities at this point. It measures and records heart rate and steps taken. It also estimates calories burned based on the heart rate data. The motion sensors can also provide some information about your posture. The story is in the shape and design. The waterproof device uses a small magnet to clamp itself onto your ear, and will run for 20 hours between charges, thanks to its Bluetooth Low Energy wireless data connection to your smartphone or tablet (iOS support only at this point). The product is scheduled to ship in April.
It’s easy to see how this could easily be modified to include additional sensors. Since the Flip clamps onto your ear, it could use transmissive optical sensors rather than reflective, which could open the door to measure glucose levels, relative blood pressure, and other useful biometrics. Given the fact that our heads move a lot under normal circumstances, it may also be a reasonable platform for mechanical energy harvesting to prolong battery life. And its so tiny and unobtrusive, it might be a more popular form factor than a fitness band or smartwatch.