Way back in the early history of wearable Health Tech, we wrote about the original Spire. That was in mid-2014 when battery-operated devices with integrated biometric sensors that transmit data via Bluetooth to smartphone apps for health purposes were a new thing. Spire’s first product, now called the Stone, monitored motion and respiration. Spire claimed Stone’s tracking could indicate whether the user was tense, relaxed, or focused. Access to this feedback was a form of empowerment to help combat stress and the app also made suggestions for healthy living based on the data. The original Spire device cost $120 for pre-orders with a $150 list price, the battery lasted a week between charges, and the software was iOS-compatible only. In his 2014 coverage, Alfred Poor predicted, “Tracking respiration in addition to steps is a logical choice, but I will be surprised if it ends here.” He was correct.
Fast forward to CES 2018, the Las Vegas consumer electronics mega-event held in early January. That’s when Spire will introduce the Spire Health Tag. The Spire Health Tag has the same functionality as the Stone, but it’s more discrete. According to a company press release, the Health Tag is the answer to clunky, first-generation wearable health tech devices that faced user adoption challenges. Rather than requiring that users wear a pendant, clip, or wristband or buy new smart clothing, the Health Tag is designed to be permanently attached to articles of clothing users already own. Spire suggests attaching Health Tags to underwear, pajamas or other sleepwear, and sports clothing. The company’s goal is to develop the “easiest, most comprehensive health monitoring solution” by tagging the clothes people wear most often so they can use the system to monitor sleep, stress, and activity 24/7.
The Spire Health Tag is available now on the company website 3-packs for $99, 8-packs for $199, and 15-packs for $299. You can buy a single Health Tag for $49 to attach to a swimsuit or running shorts or just to try it out, but won’t have the 24/7 coverage. All Health Tags in a pack are keyed to work together with a single user app, so you can’t buy a box and split them among friends. The Health Tag is washer and dryer safe, and the battery is rated to last more than a year and a half without charging. The app for the Health Tag system is currently available only for iOS, but an Android version is reportedly in the works. If the Health Tag is as much an early indication of the next stage of wearable health tech as the original was, we could see a huge new wave of devices that, while they may not do much more than earlier versions, will be both ubiquitous and less obvious.