Mobile health teddy bears are back

By Aditi Pai
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile most digital health tools are geared towards adults, MobiHealthNews has pointed out in the past that providing kids with similar devices might help them form better health habits. A lot of these devices are new additions to a child's daily schedule, but one company is putting a new take on an old classic.

Today, Croatia-based iDerma launched Teddy the Guardian, a handmade organic teddy bear with sensors that will monitor a child's health. The bear tracks a child's pulse, blood pressure, body temperature and oxygen saturation when the child puts his or her finger into the bear's paw and then sends the information to a companion app on the parent's phone.

For $69, parents can preorder the bear online and the toys will be shipped in October 2013. iDerma also offers kids the chance to draw a picture of a bear that their parents can email with the order, which the company will then replicate with the integrated sensors, and still make the expected shipping date.

According to the company, the sensors in the bear have been CE and FDA cleared. In the product's demo video, the bear was tested against against Garmin chest strap and wrist-worn heart rate monitors.

This isn't the first time the teddy bear has made an appearance in the healthcare industry. In 2011, Raja Rajamannar, then the SVP and Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer at Humana, spoke about Humana’s consumer-focused approach to well-being during the opening keynote at a conference.

Rajamannar mentioned a prototype called “Grand and Grand,” which connects grandparents to grandchildren through two wirelessly connected teddy bears: When one user hugs a bear, the other lights up and vibrates, and the bear can speak in the voice of the other user. According to Rajamannar, almost a third of doctor visits by elderly patients are more like social visits, and the reaction from the elderly to the product has been extremely positive.