Just how stressed are you, really?
The AIRO wristband, announced today (Oct. 28), is a new wearable device that aims to prevent stress by monitoring users' heart rate, exercise, sleep and eating habits to give personalized advice. The company behind the device expects to sell it for $199 in fall 2014, and it's already available for preorder at $149.
While plenty of wristband-based devices (such as the Fitbit Force) aim to help monitor or improve health by counting steps, calculating calories burned, or recording sleep patterns by monitoring your nightly tosses and turns, it's the stress angle that sets AIRO apart from others.
AIRO is a bit different. The device, developed by Ontario, Canada-based Airo Health, is a thin, gray, featureless band worn around the wrist. It performs its many functions using a spectrometer, a device that measures the amount of light passing through your bloodstream.
Using this data, AIRO can calculate how much you've eaten, the caloric content of what you've eaten, and even how healthy that food was based on the amount of sugar and fat in your bloodstream.
Further, AIRO will be able to deliver more nuanced calorie counts than you get from the food's packaging, because its spectrometer is able to calculate the unique way your body is converting the food into energy. (Some experts are skeptical about the science behind the device. See: "Can New Wristband 'Sense' What You're Eating?" from our sister site LiveScience.)
The device's stress detector is based mostly on heart rate. If your heart rate goes higher than the level the device considers normal, and you're not in workout mode, AIRO will start to vibrate to warn you that you're getting too stressed.
Yet another gadget buzzing for your attention seems like the opposite of calming, particularly when you're already stressed. Luckily, that's not all AIRO does to help you with stress. In the companion smartphone app, AIRO gives you personalized tips for avoiding stress based on the personalized health data it's gathered on you. If AIRO's data shows you haven't been sleeping soundly, for example, the device will recommend you take a nap.
We weren't able to try out an AIRO of our own, as the device is slated for a fall 2014 launch. But if it does all it says it can do, then Airo Health's new device might be a top contender in the small but rapidly growing field of wearable health devices.