BARCELONA, Spain — Smart sperm testers, body cavity inspectors, Bluetooth pillows, holographic jump ropes and contactless thermometers. It’s all just another day at Mobile World Congress, where more and more companies show off their new HealthKit-compatible gadgets.
If you want your iPhone to know absolutely everything about what’s going on with your body, these handy medical devices are for you. Here’s what they do — and why they’re cool.
HealthKit gadgets at MWC 2018
Support for Apple’s HealthKit platform continues to grow. A growing crowd of companies offer devices that collect health data and seamlessly sync it to the iOS Health app. These new HealthKit gadgets caught my eye at MWC 2018 in Barcelona.
Monitor reproductive health with O’View ovulation and sperm testers
Since iOS 9, Apple’s Health app has included a section on Reproductive Health. But data such as ovulation test results still had to be entered manually, either directly into the Health app, or via one of the many menstruation-tracking apps available on the App Store.
South Korean health tech company Jongro Medical solves this problem with the O’View Smart Ovulation Tester. The test is based on saliva — you simply put a tiny strip in your mouth, then insert it into the gadget. The device checks hormone levels in the saliva sample and automatically transfers the results to the Health app on your iPhone. This kind of automated system, which stores results automatically, makes it much easier for women to track their ovulation cycles over time.
Jongro also previewed the O’View-L Smart Sperm Tester, which checks male fertility. Currently this metric is not supported by HealthKit.
These products should become available in the United States later this year, priced under $80, and could be a boon for anyone hoping to have kids.
Let iPhone probe your ears, mouth and skin with Re:fit Cam-Medi
Have you ever wondered what the inside of your ear looks like? Or maybe that nasty ulcer under your tongue? Then this product is for you. The Re:fit Cam-Medi is a tiny camera on the end of a stick that you can safely insert into your ear to check if it’s healthy. The other end plugs into your iPhone via a Lightning cable, and shows all the gory details in real time with high-resolution microscopic video images. The companion app provides handy reference photography to show what a health eardrum should look like.
The company also offers a microscopic camera for checking damaged skin. The Re:fit rep showed me his hair follicles in remarkable detail on his iPhone screen.
This type of product could prove incredibly handy for people managing a variety chronic conditions. The Cam-Medi should become available in the United States later this year.
Track sleep with a smart pillow: The Maetel PillowSofit
Sleep trackers are a perennial favorite on the App Store. Some apps require you to put your iPhone under your pillow and use its accelerometer to track your nocturnal movements. Others record the sounds you make while sleeping. Then there are Apple Watch apps that monitor your sleeping via wrist movement and heart rate. But personally, I don’t like wearing a watch when I’m in bed, and if I put my phone under my pillow it would almost certainly get knocked out of bed in the night.
There are some alternatives on the market, like Beddit, a device you put under your sheets, which has recently been purchased by Apple. But the Internet of Things specialists at Maetel think they have a better solution. At Mobile World Congress they are showing off their prototype PillowSofit. This smart pillow has an adjustable angle you can control with an iPhone app. It also monitors your sleeping and snoring, and can plug all that data into HealthKit automatically.
A jump rope with a twist: Smart Rope
Smart Rope is a jump rope that connects with your iPhone to log your workouts in the Health app. But the really cool thing about it — which drew crowds at MWC — are the embedded LED lights that create an amazing digital display as you work out. The Smart Rope appears to float in midair in front of you as it spins round while you skip.
Check out the video above to see how just how cool it looks. It’s available for pre-order on Kickstarter now.
A beautiful thermometer Jony Ive himself might approve of: Nokia Thermo
The iPhone Health app lets you log your body temperature. However, it’s such a hassle to manually enter these readings that unless you have a full-time professional nurse on call, I doubt you’d bother.
The new Nokia Thermo solves this problem elegantly. The design of this gadget is so sleek, it’s a shame it’s something you’d only use when you’re unwell. Its minimalist, all-white exterior offers a seamlessly integrated trackpad and display that enables you to select between up to eight different users. Green and red lights indicate if your temperature is normal or if you have a fever.
To take a reading, you simply point the green end at your forehead, without even needing to press it against your skin. The Thermo takes a mind-boggling 4,000 measurements using 16 sensors to provide a highly accurate reading. Then it syncs your body temperature wirelessly to HealthKit on your iPhone via Wi-Fi.
Although Nokia has raised questions about its longterm commitment to the health business, the company set up a very impressive stand at Mobile World Congress. Nokia showed off some great products, including the BPM+ smart blood pressure cuff and Body Cardio smart scales. These remain some of the best HealthKit-compatible gadgets on the market, so I hope Nokia decides its health business is healthy after all.