Much ado about Airo

A flurry of publicity has descended like early snow in the Rockies promoting the AIRO fitness band. Developed by three graduates of Canada’s University of Waterloo, it is building pre-delivery excitement (and pre-orders) around the band’s claimed unique capability to analyze post-eating effects and make recommendations. A mini-spectrometer built into the band uses light wavelengths to look into a person’s blood stream and detect the metabolites released during and after eating. Their program then analyzes the information and makes nutritional recommendations on your smartphone without any separate input of foods or calories. As far as this Editor knows, this is a first, along with using heart rate and caloric burn to measure exercise intensity and recovery. The ‘only health tracker you’ll ever need’ cuff also measures and reports on stress and sleep. The company is taking pre-orders at $149 in advance of the full DTC price of $200 (not sure if in Canadian or US dollars), but according to the FAQs delivery will not be until Fall 2014. For iPhones and Android.

Could Fitbit and Jawbone Up be getting the treatment they meted out to Zeo within a year? Will the spectrometer and blood analysis mean that the device will need FDA and Health Canada clearance? Inquiring minds want to know. Website, video, Business Insider article, CBS-TV Cleveland. (Editor Donna note that the pre-sale over a year in advance is essentially a crowdfunding strategy, but standalone it feels ‘take the money and run’ dodgy.)  Hat tip to reader Lois Drapin of The Drapin Group, New York.

Update 31 October: The somewhat sketchy credibility of this device has increased exponentially, in this Editor’s opinion, since the revelation that there is not a working prototype (due in December, according to the founder) and the spectrometer’s capability and accuracy of detecting blood metabolites non-invasively at the wrist may resemble junk science (MedCityNews). Brian Dolan concludes that as of this point, Airo cannot be what it’s cracked up to be in Mobihealthnews.

In smartwatch 2014 deluge news, Google is also nearing its smartwatch launch within months, according to The Wall Street Journal. The watch will incorporate the Google Now personal assistant.

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