Flo the ‘smart thermometer’ – a revolutionary way of checking and monitoring temperature. Designed for parents by parents, Flo has no wires, it doesn’t require any body contact, and you get accurate readings instantly.
The Bluetooth thermometer was designed by two fathers, who saw a gap in the market. MisplacedPixels got an exclusive interview with the the founder, Eddie Cheung, who is also in charge of engineering
How would you describe Flo to someone who hasn’t heard of it before?
Flo is a non-invasive smart thermometer that is fast and accurate. It is very easy to use and works with or without the phone.
What lead you to invent it in the first place – was there a specific moment?
Henry and I are both fathers and we loved the idea of smart thermometer. But the ones we tried are cumbersome to use and actually makes life harder for parents.
Smart should mean for more than just connected 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.
How and when did you first decide to try and develop the thermometer?
We started putting together a list of ideas Feb 2015. It was two fathers exchanging wish list for a smart thermometer and realizing we could do this. Finding the right people and right partners to get there took most of the effort for the first few months.
What applications do you see for it in the future?
In addition for parents, we could see Flo being used by those who worked with many children because of the speed and the fact that it is non-invasive . This would include teachers, nanny, and medical professionals. We also have users wanting to use it for drinks, like making tea or warming up sake. That was surprising to us but we can understand.
How accurate is the technology?
Flo is accurate with +-0.2C of the actual temperature and such accuracy is acceptable range for medical use. However on Kickstarter we don’t focus on the medical application part because it does not allow for medical device.
In layman’s terms – how does the product work?
Flo determines body temperature by measuring he heat escape from the forehead area. It uses an infrared sensor to pick up those heat and does not emit any light or radio.Would it work in a hospital setting or is it more just for the home?
It can work in a hospital setting and several backers who are medical professionals have expressed interests in using it in their line of work
How and why did you decide to make it more of a social platform?
We feel that data from reading only tells part of the story. By adding notes and tags, we add context to the data and can be very useful in understanding the situation while preserving memorable moments for the family.
How long did the prototype take to develop?
We had the first working prototype around October 2015, so it took about 8 months.
What impact do you think it could have for new parents?
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.
How have you found the response so far? – with nearly 1500 backers and over double your initial goal.
We are both elated and a bit exhausted from around the clock updating and adjusting. The trend is actually increasing which we were told is very hard to do in the middle of campaign. Given the response and the traffic we can observe, we believe we are on the direction and we just have to deliver on our promises.
What will the initial price be per unit?
We plan to retail Flo at $40 USD
How did you decide on the colour choices?
We had some many color options and were having trouble narrow down the options. We surveyed many parents, particular moms, to get it down to the most popular 4 colors.
At what stage will it be available commercially – where do you hope to sell it?
We expect to have it in stock late May and we would like to sell in North America, Europe and parts of Asia for the initial launch. We believe we can be successful in other markets as well and we will be happy to work with partners that we feel can provide good service to the customer.
What are your hopes for the product?
We would like to see it become a commercial success and help building a strong user community for ideas and interactions.
The Kickstarter project can be seen here
Click here for an in-depth look at the product.
What’s your opinion on the thermometer? Do you think it would make your life easier?