The iSpO2: A Heart Healthy Technology

The iSpO2 is the latest from Masimo and it may help spur advances in telemedicine.


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What's the big idea?

Medical diagnosis technology has made it into a few headlines lately. For example, Catherine Wong won NPR's Big Idea Contest. Wong's creation incorporates a Bluetooth enabled EKG machine. The cheap medical device can display heart readings on a cellphone screen and even transmit the data to any doctor on Earth.

Wong's idea is a step forward in telemedicine, a major goal of which is to give access to the nearly two billion people in the world that don't have the ability to seek medical care. However, there is a lack of strong interest in this field, but Masimo may change that.

Where there is a demand there is a way.

Masimo is a well-established medical technology company. Over the years, it has pioneered noninvasive measuring devices. Up until now, they've all been made for hospital use only. At CES Unveiled, the company showed off the iSpO2, its first consumer product.

The iSpO2 is a pulse oximeter. It plugs into your iPhone or iPad and measures saturation of oxygen, pulse rate, and profusion index. Given these metrics, three major target audiences come to mind. High oxygen saturation and profusion index combined with a low pulse rate are all signs of good stamina, a must for any ardent athlete. "Bro, my red blood cells are so buff. They can tank like five billion molecues of ox."

Pilots and mountaineers would also find this device useful and potentially life saving. Having a low oxygen saturation brings on a condition known as hypoxia. Dulled senses and edemas forming in your heart or brain will definitely put a damper on your festivities.

At a starting price of $249, the iSpO2 is obtainable to many iPad and iPhone owners. Being connected to such devices allows you not only to take advantage of displays to show off the data they've collected, but also with their connectivity. The accompanying app gives the option to e-mail the stored data in the.csv file format. You can send this data to your doctor, trainer, or friends. In fact, we even predict people uploading their data to websites to show off how fit they are.

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The next step

Masimo's new product takes advantage of some of the best features of the iPad or iPhone: the display and connectivity. The display lets users look at the readings in real time and the connectivity gives them the option to send it to others. In fact, the ISpO2 is much like Catherine Wong's invention.

Populations, particularly in the United States are becoming progressively more health aware. As people want to know more about their bodies, the demand for telemedicine devices will increase. Masimo's little new toy may seem inconsequential, but it is a bright pin point in the shifting sea of consumer desires.

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