New Wearable Thermometer Helps Monitor Sick Kids

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — From fitness trackers to blood pressure monitors, wearable health gadgets are growing in popularity

In just a few weeks, parents can purchase a new device that may make taking a child’s temperature a whole lot easier — in fact, just as easy as checking Facebook or Twitter.

Just ask Grace Yu of Los Altos. She and her 2-year-old daughter Iris are among the first to try it.

“I thought this sounds really cool. Will it actually work?” laughed Yu, who is a medical doctor and was curious about the device.

When Iris recently developed a fever, Yu used a new kind of thermometer: a soft, flexible patch that’s worn like a Band-Aid under the arm .

It continuously measures a child’s temperature. and wirelessly sends the information to a smart phone or tablet via Bluetooth..

“You don’t have to wake up your child in the middle of the night,” explained Dr. Yu.

And she noted how she would not have to get out of bed either.

It’s called “Fever Scout.” An app on your smart phone will alert you if your child needs attention, track the fever in real time and keep a record you can share with your doctor. Parents can customize the device and set the temperature alerts for specific levels.

“It’s great because we can see trends,” explained Yu.

The device is made by Santa Clara-based biotech firm Vivalnk. It was tested by an emergency room doctor at the Mayo Clinic as well as by parents around the Bay Area like Yu, who is not employed by Vivalnk nor did she receive payment for participating in the beta study.

As for the parent and doctor participation? The company found they provided invaluable feedback.

“It’s helped us in the development of this product.” said Kurt Pfluger, Vivalnk VP of Marketing and Sales.

Pfluger noted that all the materials used in Fever Scout are biocompatible and medical grade.”It’s BPA-free and it’s lead free,” he added.

What makes the patch so amazing is what’s inside of it: a paper-thin, stretchable circuit known as “e-skin.” It’s so thin, it’s almost invisible.

“You have a very flexible and breathable and stretchable thermometer that you can wear which is really unnoticeable to the user,” said Pfluger.

But the circuit had to be put in a device that would not get lost.

The device, which looks like a zigzag or even a “fever” is very kid friendly.

“We need to make sure there was something there for the kids,” said Gadi Amit, founder and president of NewDealDesign of San Francisco. His company designed the patch and the app with youngsters in mind.

“Eventually after a lot of expression and sketches we got to this zigzag,” laughed Amit.

As for Yu, she said the thermometer was accurate and easy to use. But the most important feature was that her kids liked it, she added. And that they don’t even notice you are taking their temperature.

“So it’s got the kids vouch for approval and it’s got mine too,” laughed Yu.

 

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