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February 8, 2016

Wearable vs. PacMan

Can a mini therapist in my pocket help me through an intense game of PacMan? SPIRE tracks your breathing in real time and sends you alerts to remind you to chill out! It clips on just like a Fitbit, and while it does measure your steps, it’s being marketed to track your emotions as well.

It can detect when you’re feeling flustered, or calm – and over time you may be able to preemptively be able to redirect a panic attack once you begin to recognize what truly stresses you out, read: that 9AM weekly update meeting with the big bad boss – or maybe even that fourth drive around the block as you’re looking for parking.

I put it to the test with what stresses me out the most – and was really surprised by the results! Would you want a wearable to keep tabs on your emotions?

February 4, 2016

Get caffeinated with the flick of your wrist

joule bracelet watch
Most of us have joked about plugging caffeine in intravenously… and this may be the first step to make that a reality! Joule has just introduced the world’s first-ever caffeine bracelet using FDA approved transdermal patches. Their aim is to create a caffeine experience that highlights the highs of caffeine experiences (read: productivity and sheer willingness to take on most tasks) while eliminating the lows (read: the inevitable crashing down of your entire universe hours later).

The bracelet can be used in conjunction with regular caffeine consumption for those of us that love the taste and warmth of this sweet elixir of happiness.

This patch claims to provide an immediate energy boost the moment it is placed on the skin compared to caffeine ingested through other forms, which can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes for the body to absorb. 

“The Joule Team is creating a caffeine consumption experience that highlights the highs of caffeine such as a suppressed appetite, heightened athletic performance and mental acuity, all while eliminating the high cost associated with coffee, the jitters and the crash that many caffeine drinkers experience” says Adam Paulin, inventor of Joule.

Each Joule patch is equivalent to one cup of coffee and is slowly absorbed by the body for up to four hours of effectiveness.

Joule - Black
It can also be worn during workouts and other athletic activities to provide a safe boost in energy. And think about it, you’re also cutting down on calories from that double latte!

Joule is available for pre-order at

Would you try miss your barista too much?

January 30, 2016

Higher-Tech Health Gizmos

spire wearable
Photo: Amazon

From an automatic body manager that measures calorie intake through your skin (whaat!) to technology that tracks your breathing and stress and coaches you to be more mindful, the newest technologies to hit the market go beyond counting steps to actually tracking your accountability to your health resolutions! 

HealBe GoBe

Photo: iotnewsnetwork

HealBe GoBe is worn on your wrist and measures calorie intake and hydration through your skin. It syncs with your smartphone to give you intel on calories consumed, burned, steps, heart rate and sleep.

By sending low electrical signals to your tissue on your wrist, it can determine fluid levels in and around your cells so when you eat and glucose displaces water inside your cells and GoBe is able to measure that and can approximate the amount of calories you consumed.

I tested this with a bowl of oatmeal with trail mix and some berries, the caloric intake was 470 – and GoBe reported 410. It also calculates protein, carbs as well. The carb load was 42g and it reported 41; protein was 9g but the app calculated 26g.

It estimates carbs and protein by measuring how fast – or slowly – the conversion happens in your cells. With 85% accuracy it can pick up the sugar in my coffee creamer and those few squares of chocolate I sneak in the middle of the day – I wish I knew how much I mindlessly eat and how bad it could be for me! This hour-by-hour reminder might be enough to make you rethink that strawberry cheesecake, especially if you’re inching closer and closer to your 2,000 allotment per day.

It’s also the only wearable device that can automatically measure the user’s overall hydration level, it sends you alerts for you to reach for that glass of water.
$299 at

This is interesting and can teach you a lot about how food metabolizes and how you might be underestimating your calories, but once you’ve ingested that cupcake, it’s too late. This next technology analyses your plate BEFORE you eat so you can proactively mitigate impending calorie damage! 


Photo: SmartPlate

SmartPlate is an intelligent plate that instantly analyzes everything you eat, calories and macro and micronutrients and keeps an eye on your exact dietary needs.

You take a photo with your smartphone and it recognizes 10,000 USDA approved meals, 300,000 pantry items and 100,000 restaurant meals. Each reservoir has a scale so as the app recognizes the food, the scale weighs it for the most accurate calorie count.

Foods have been photographed thousands of times from all angles so nearly any direction you take the photo the app will be able to recognize it. It even knows the difference between fried and grilled chicken! If you need more healthy unsaturated fats, for instance, the app will recommend you eat an avocado or a handful of almonds before the end of the day and speed warnings tells you when you’re eating too fast.

SmartPlate is a finalist in Sir Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge.
Available for pre-order for $99 at



Photo: Spire

Spire is like a Fitbit, but for your emotions and stress. It monitors your breathing by the second (you can see your breath go up and down in the app) and coaches you to a calmer, balanced state of mind by allowing you to discover when you’re stressed, where it happens, and what you were doing, through its app.

It sends you a smart notifications when you’re getting tense and guides you to calm through meditation exercises when it matters most; maybe before that big client meeting or when you’re dealing with a stressful deadline.

When you know your stress triggers, you’re able to monitor and learn from it, this way if snacking or food if your go-to coping mechanism you’ll be able to consciously put down the donut and take up a healthier habit, like going for a walk or using the app for a guided breathing exercise.

By simply controlling your breathing you can lower blood pressure, reduce tension and increase endorphins. It also tracks steps and calories.
$149.99 at, and on Amazon


Photo: Nima

If you’ve had to go gluten-free like me, every meal is an adventure – that’s putting it mildly! If I ingest gluten my immune system is compromised and two to three days later I’m suffering with a cold, low-grade fever, the works! That’s why I’m pretty psyched about Nima, launching mid-2016, it takes a tiny sample of food and analyses whether there’s gluten present in just two minutes.

It can test liquids, solids and anything in between and uses one-time-use capsules that are pre-loaded with their proprietary chemistry so there’s no need to re-fill or clean. I love also that the app is crowdsourcing data, too, so eventually you may not even need to test the Orange Chicken at PF Chang’s. It was designed by a team from MIT, Stanford, Google and Nike and touts a 99.5% accuracy.

Unfortunately it can’t save you from the embarrassment of ordering food, testing to find it has gluten and having to either send it back – or do what I do – pass it off to my fiancé! Or worst yet, having to pass on that meal grandma cooked it lovingly all day. Ugh.
On pre-order for $199 at

Does the idea of an automatic calorie counter freak you out? Would you try any of these?