Report: Fitbit Surge will have GPS, call notifications, heart-rate sensor

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 20, 2014        

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Fitbit Force

Fitbit Force

This week there’s a new report about leaked details of an upcoming Fitbit device — this is the third device that has leaked from Fitbit in recent weeks — The Verge reports that the Fitbit Surge will cost about $250 and will offer GPS-enabled distance tracking, heart rate sensing, and call and text message notifications. That would make the Surge the first Fitbit with GPS and the first Fitbit to deliver on incoming call and text notifications.

The voluntarily recalled Fitbit Force was supposed to have the notifications feature but never got that promised update. The recently leaked Fitbit Charge HR reportedly will have a heart rate sensor too.

The Fitbit Surge’s leaked marketing page touts GPS capabilities as its top feature: “Get distance, pace, and elevation climbed with built-in GPS, then review routes and split times,” it reads. The second feature listed is “PurePulse heart rate” which Fitbit says is: “continuous, automatic wrist-based heart rate monitoring with no uncomfortable chest straps.” The device can also let users control the music playing on their phone right from their wrist.

The Fitbit Surge will also reportedly have all the other tracking features that are now standard on the company’s newest devices, like steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, sleep quality, and silent alarm.

The Surge will also promise about two days of battery life and come in three colors: black, slate, and tangerine, according to the Verge report.

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FDA clears military-tested PTSD, brain injury assessment app

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 20, 2014        

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DANA AnthroTronixLast week the FDA granted 510(k) clearance to a mobile-based cognitive test called DANA (Defense Automated Neurobehavioral Assessment), which helps healthcare providers better assess the medical or psychological state of their patients. DANA was developed by Silver Spring, Maryland-based AnthroTronix, a digital health R&D company, and it was developed partially thanks to funding from the US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery as well as a Rapid Innovation Fund award from the US Army. The latter led to DANA being used to help evaluate the medical status of deployed military service members in Afghanistan.

“We are pleased that DANA has sought and received FDA clearance, leading the way for this type of game-changing technology,” Corinna Lathan, founder and CEO of AnthroTronix, said in a statement. “In essence, measuring reaction time is like taking the temperature of the brain—like a “Brain Thermometer”—and it is a vital part of the data that a health professional needs to evaluate their patient.”   Keep reading>>

6 crowdfunding campaigns for swimming, sleeping, running, lifting and more

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 18, 2014        

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Although MobiHealthNews published a crowdfunding roundup just two weeks ago, already, several more devices have cropped up on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. One device that launched an Indiegogo campaign recently, called Xmetrics, also announced a funding raise last week.

Almost all of the devices listed offer activity tracking features, but most also have a significant emphasis on coaching, insights, and technique for the device wearers.

Read on for six of the latest digital health products to crowdfund their devices:

Xmetrics

Xmetrics

Xmetrics has developed a small device that hooks into the back of the swimmer’s goggles. It counts strokes, measures how long the workout session lasted, and provides near real-time audio feedback through attached headphones on the number of strokes, lap time, and quality of turns. Data from the device is sent to a companion app, which offers a dashboard view of how well swimmers are progressing compared with their goals. All data collected within the app can be shared with coaches or fellow swimmers. The funding from the campaign will go towards finalizing the industrialization of the product and building the first fully working beta samples.

If the company reaches its stretch goals, it will begin working on the next generation of Xmetrics, which will include other training aspects, such as open water swimming. According to their Indiegogo page, there are two paid apps the user can purchase. Xmetrics Fit offers fixed audio feedback and has a suggested retail price of $199, while Xmetrics Pro offers customizable audio feedback and has a suggested retail price of $299.

The campaign has so far raised $3,708 of its $100,000 goal. They have 41 days remaining in the campaign.

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Xmetrics raises $1M for virtual swimming coach device

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 16, 2014        

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XmetricsItaly-based Xmetrics raised $1.07 million (675,000 pounds) from Reply Breed, an accelerator spun out of Turin, Italy-based consulting firm Reply SpA, in exchange for 30 percent equity in Xmetrics.

Xmetrics has developed a small device that hooks into the back of the swimmer’s goggles. It counts strokes, measures how long the workout session lasted, and provides near real-time audio feedback through attached headphones on the number of strokes, lap time, and quality of turns. Data from the device is sent to a companion app, which offers a dashboard view of how well swimmers are progressing compared with their goals. All data collected within the app can be shared with coaches or fellow swimmers.

There are two app plans the user can purchase. Xmetrics Fit offers fixed audio feedback and has a suggested retail price of $199, while Xmetrics Pro offers customizable audio feedback and has a suggested retail price of $299.

The company also launched an Indiegogo campaign this week, which has so far raised $3,175 of its $100,000 goal. The funding from the campaign will go towards finalizing the industrialization of the product and building the first fully working beta samples. If the company reaches its stretch goals, it will begin working on the next generation of Xmetrics, which will include other training aspects, such as open water swimming.

Xmetrics’ investor, Reply SpA, invested in another digital health company this year, called Sensoria Fitness. Sensoria developed smart socks track a user’s steps, speed, calories, altitude and distance while running or walking through a combination of a sensor-laden sock, electronic anklet piece and an app available on iOS and Android platforms. Reply SpA received 20 percent equity in Sensoria for its investment.

Few startups are developing tracking products that focus on swimming, but last year a Beirut, Lebanon-based startup, called Instabeat, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to start production on a swim tracking wearable. Instabeat is an eyepiece that clips on to the side of a pair of swimming goggles. This allows it to measure heart rate from the temporal artery on the side of the face, using an optical sensor. Motion sensors in the device also track calories burned, laps, breathing pattern, flip turns, all read from motion sensors that are built into the device alongside the optical heart rate sensor.

This year, ecommerce website SwimOutlet.com launched a public beta for its swim tracking platform. The website helps swimmers track, share and compare the workouts they monitor with waterproof activity trackers. The platform, called Swim.com, received 5,000 beta requests within its first 10 days, according to the company.

38 more health and wellness apps that connect to Apple’s HealthKit

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 16, 2014        

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Apple Health AppA few weeks ago, MobiHealthNews compiled a list of 23 health and wellness apps that connect to Apple’s HealthKit platform, which feeds health and wellness data from third party devices and apps into its consumer-facing app, called Health. Health is preloaded on all iPhones running iOS 8.

And even though, last week, popular activity tracker app Fitbit posted on its customer feedback forum that it had no current plans to integrate with the platform, at least 38 other apps have now been added to Apple’s HealthKit collection in the Apple App Store.

Some apps that were included in MobiHealthNews’ previous list, but not in Apple’s, including Lark and Fitport, have now been added to Apple’s list. Apple also split the list into three sections: Health and Fitness, Food and Nutrition, and Healthcare Apps.

Here are the other 38 apps that have added HealthKit integration:

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Webinar today: The success of text messaging for health

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 16, 2014        

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Brian Dolan - MobiHealthNews Editor-in-ChiefIn just a few short hours — today at 2PM ET (11AM PT) we’ll be kicking off the next complimentary MobiHealthNews webinar, Insights into the Success of Text Messaging for Health. During the presentations we’ll cover data about the growing amount of efficacy studies focused on mobile health initiatives that make use of text messages. We’ll also review a series of individual case studies that point to not only the potential, but also the success, of texting for healthcare today.

The opportunity for healthcare organizations to leverage text messaging as a channel for health education, behavior change, patient engagement, and more has been a long time coming.

Don’t miss out: Register now, bring your questions, and tune in live this afternoon at 2PM ET.