Health-tracking has been an ambition for phone manufacturers and app developers for a number of years. First came the pedometers, then the GPS trackers, and now those same technologies have branched into wearables that measure your heart rate.
The technology always seems casual and for the purpose of giving the user a rough idea of their health. Trendy wearables rarely have sensors that are as accurate as dedicated devices that would be used by doctors. If you try 5 different sleep-tracking wristbands, you’ll get 5 completely different stories about how well you slept. We’re wary of most health-related apps since so many over-promise and under-deliver.
Azoi Inc. have recently impressed us with Kito+, a phone-connected health monitor that’s accurate and medically useful. It’s a case for the iPhone that measures your heart rate, respiration rate, blood oxygen, electrocardiography, and skin temperature. Azoi Inc. is ISO 13485-certified, which means they are recognised as making quality medical devices. Still, we were naturally wary as it sounds almost too good to be true.
Kito+ is very easy to use. Your phone sits in the case and you use a free app available for iOS and Android. You start the app on your phone, place your fingers on the back of the case for a few seconds, and you can see useful measurements on your screen. The host of different measurements are more useful for general health monitoring but also detecting potential warning signs that could be worth bringing up with your doctor. The app stores the data so new measurements can be compared with historical measurements to reveal trends. These reports can be shared to other people such as your doctor or a carer. Here’s my ECG:
Kito+ is a modular phone case that fits the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus. Technically the box comes with two cases, one for the Plus-sized and one for regular-sized iPhones. The case itself has no biosensors built-in; instead there’s a hole where the biosensor module attaches. Once it’s all connected it feels like one solid case. The modular nature of the case means that the sensor can be switched if you ever buy a bigger or smaller iPhone but also the sensor can be used stand-alone, disconnected from the case. This means it also works with Android phones or older iPhones that don’t fit the new cases.
The case looks like pretty much every other standard, single-colour case for the iPhone. It isn’t the prettiest case ever made but it doesn’t look like a bulky piece of equipment filled with sensors either. It looks like a simple, black iPhone case. It feels good to hold as the leather has a grippy texture that makes the iPhone a lot more secure in your hand than without a case.
The case is charged by connecting to a small charging module that connects with USB to a power source. Charging was a bit of a pain because the module itself disconnects quite easily. It’s magnetic but not very strong so if you’re not careful it could come loose when you think it’s charging. If you find the most secure way for the phone to sit then there isn’t a problem. The good news about charging is that you won’t have to do it very often; a full charge should last over 2 months.
Azoi Inc. are onto something here. Kito+ doesn’t feel like a casual health tracker that people would use to motivate themselves to keep fit. It feels like a powerful tool for learning more about our bodies and for complementing medical care. Kito+ only costs £99, which seems very affordable given the quality of the product and the fact that you can instantly measure such a wide range of vitals at any time on your phone. It’s probably over-the-top for people just wanting to know their heart rate but it could prove invaluable for some people who need instant access to their vitals and the ability to share them quickly.
Kito+ is available from the official website for £99.
Main image © Azoi Inc.