(Not sponsored)Flo the non-invasive ‘smart thermometer’ is a revolutionary way of checking and monitoring temperature. Designed for parents by parents, there are no wires, it doesn’t require any body contact, and you get accurate readings instantly.
From new parents, medical professionals and drink makers to nannies, chefs and teachers, there are so many people and professions that could benefit from Zeraph’s latest innovation.
As someone who used to be a full-time nanny, worked as an au-pair and frequently babysits, I needn’t point out that the practical application of this product could make ripples worldwide.
We all know that when babies and young toddlers are crying and seem out of sorts it’s a scary time because they cannot explain what’s wrong, and there’s always a fear that the little one could be running a fever.
With Flo, all you need to do it place the object within 1cm of your baby’s forehead, press a button and it will give you an instant reading! To me, Flo’s greatest appeal over so many other thermometers on the market is that it doesn’t make a sound or touch the body, so is ideal for parents and childcarers because it won’t wake up a sleeping baby! (Bliss!)
As it never needs to touch the body Flo doesn’t require constant cleaning. This greatly reduces the risk of contamination – for use in hospitals, this would be beneficial to infection control officials as it could be used on multiple individuals in a short period of time without risk.
With young children around it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Flo is extremely simple to use; just one press of a button and you will know whether a child has a fever or not. And you don’t even need to have a phone with you to use Flo because it works independently and saves data for syncing later.
To make life easier Flo is not only Bluetooth enabled, but it is fully compatible with iPhone 5, as well as iPad 3rd gen running iOS 9 or later, it can also link to your Apple Watch.Music to many, it will also support Android devices running 4.4 or above with Bluetooth 4.0. With no phone jack or cable to plug in and no wired to untangle, you won’t even have to hold or be close to your phone when using Flo.
While Flo works quietly most of the time, there is an audio feature for when users need it to speak! When it is enabled, Flo will announce the temperature when you take a reading. This is very handy when you want to find out the exact temperature but cannot run back to your phone. Busy parents or caretakers with young children can certainly relate to that.
You can create profiles for each member of the family and track their temperature separately. This is great for observing trends in temperature to see if medication is working.
Because Flo can track body temperature, it is even handy for determining ovulation cycles. A period of elevated readings suggests ovulation, a feature which could be very useful information for couples trying to conceive.You can also use Flo to tag pictures with time, reading, and location to add context and meaning to data. This is handy for both your own memory and for sharing with others.
One of the most reassuring features is the ability to send vital information to your family doctor or the child’s caregiver within seconds. Flo can be a great tool to help healthcare professionals and parents become more efficient and proactive.
Not only limited to health features you can also use Flo to check the surface temperatures of liquids and other objects. This would be ideal for testing the milk’s temperature, preventing you from once again burning your wrist with scalding milk, or speaking from experience having to test the milk out yourself. (Formula milk tastes terrible.)
A great way to see whether liquids and foods are too hot or if the bathtub water is too cold for baby. Simply hold the button to switch to Object Mode and point within 5cm of the object’s surface. And best of all? The audio feature works in object mode as well!
The Bluetooth thermometer was designed by two fathers, Eddie Cheung, the founder who is in charge of engineering and Henry Ma the Co-Founder who in charge of Manufacturing and Operation.
After trying and testing similar thermometers Eddie and Henry found the ones currently on the market cumbersome to use and that these products actually ended up making life harder for parents.
Eddie felt that smart should mean for more than just a connection to a smartphone, it should also ‘mean the user experience is improved’ with the help of the smartphone. This is ‘core idea that drives most of the Flo’s design decisions’.
After starting to put together a list of ideas February 2015, the two fathers essentially exchanged a wish list for a smart thermometer, and shortly thereafter realised that they could design ‘Flo’.
It was ‘finding the right people and right partners’ to help that took ‘most of the effort for the first few months’ of the project.
In addition to parents, Zeraph can see Flo being used by those who worked with children ‘because of the speed and the fact that it is non-invasive’. It’s no surprise that this list includes teachers, nannies, and medical professionals. Eddie said the team were surprised to ‘have users wanting to use it for drinks, like making tea or warming up sake’.
Flo is accurate within +/-0.2C of the actual temperature of the subject, which would be an acceptable range for medical use. However on Kickstarter Zeraph didn’t focus on the medical application part of the product as Kickstarter does not allow for medical devices. Flo determines body temperature by measuring the heat escaped from the forehead area. It uses an infrared sensor to pick up the heat and ‘does not emit any light’ or radio waves.
The product currently has several medical professional backers who have expressed interests in using it in their line of work.
Eddie said that the team ‘feel that data from readings only tells part of the story’. They hope that by adding notes and tags, users are able to add context to the data which can be ‘useful in understanding the situation while preserving memorable moments for the family’.The first working prototype was produced around October of 2015 which took roughly 8 months to manufacture. Eddie said: ‘By making it so easy and so quick to use while saving the data automatically, we hope Flo can make life a bit easier for overwhelmed new parents.’
The team are ‘both elated and a bit exhausted from around the clock updating and adjusting’ since the campaign began. Given the response and the traffic that can be seen on Flo’s Kickstarter page, the believe they are going in the right the direction and that they now ‘just have to deliver’ on their promises.
Retailing at 40 USD the colors were picked after surveying ‘many parents, particularly moms’ to get it down to the most popular 4 colors.
Zeraph expects to have Flo in stock and available commercially in late May where they would like to sell in ‘North America, Europe and parts of Asia for the initial launch’. Zeraph believes they can be successful in other markets as well and are excited to work with partners that they ‘feel can provide good service to the customer’.
Eddie would like to see Flo become a commercial success and ‘help building a strong user community for ideas and interactions’.
Click here for the complete interview
What do you think of a ‘Smart Thermometer‘? Would you buy one?