Health is a thoroughly explored area for the gadget industry. Nowadays it seems like everything has a heart monitor bolted onto it. Azoi has entered the fray with something different - the Kito+ - an iPhone case with the ability to measure heart rate, ECG, blood oxygen, respiration rate and skin temperature.
The standalone unit looks like the 80s vision of a futuristic tape deck, as the two large metal sensors add a delightfully retro look & feel. While the case itself won’t win any awards, it has a satisfyingly grippy feel to it. If I was to be picky, the buttons are really stiff and hard to press (that’s what she said).
And operation is pretty damn simple… From talking to the team at Gadget Show Live up until now, I’m still really impressed by the sheer ease of activating the Kito+, opening the app, placing your fingers on the sensor and letting it run.
With the two large metal sensors responsible for ECG and heart rate, the smaller one measures skin temperature, and the clear window reveals a pulse-oximeter to measure both O2 saturation and respiration rate.
Accuracy is not 100%, and Azoi wants to make sure you know that this is not a replacement for a doctor with professional diagnostic equipment. Heart rate is accurate within 5bpm, O2 saturation wishing 3.5% and respiration is give or take 3 breaths per minute. Out of all the sensors, skin temperature is the only one with real precision - accurate within 0.3 degrees C.
So all good…right? Well, I hate to be that guy who slams a product with a blunt question here, but what’s the point of this being a consumer-facing product?
This is not me having a problem with the gadget itself, but rather how it’s being positioned. Maybe this is because I’m not the target audience - this could be ideal for fitness buffs and hypochondriacs. Or more likely, it’s because they’ve gone about bringing the Kito+ to market in the wrong way.
At £99, this is a difficult consumer product to convince yourself to buy, so they need another way of bringing their tech to the masses. If you will allow me, dear reader, to step away from reviewing to pontificate slightly, here’s how I would have done it.
Imagine receiving a diagnosis from the doctor, which requires regular check-ups to analyse your progress. Normally, this would require a large time investment from both your GP and yourself begging to get the time off to go.
But instead, he/she prescribes you a Kito+ to keep a shared record of the same information and continue checking up on you over the air. The NHS should really take note of this as a tool for freeing up their doctors’ time, which while not as accurate can paint a fair picture for any medical professional to get a general idea of whether they need to see them or not.
Overall, what does this mean? It’s a helpful piece of kit, which is currently a bit pointless. Position it differently and Azoi could have a potential game changer on their hands!
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.