Digital health startup ID Guardian, formerly iDerma, raised $400,000 from London-based investors to bring its health-sensing plush bear to market, according to a post from TechCrunch.
The handmade stuffed animal, called Teddy the Guardian, is embedded with sensors that monitor a child’s health. The bear senses a child’s pulse, body temperature, and oxygen saturation when children put their finger on the bear’s paw and then sends the information to a companion app on the parent’s phone. The bear also changes colors in reaction to the child's health -- the bear's heart glows and beats at the same rhythm as the child's heart, and if the child's temperature changes, Teddy's heart changes color.
From the app, parents can also receive graphs and reports on the child's progress and set reminders. The company has integrated FDA-cleared health monitoring technology from a partner, which helped it cut down its time to market and regulatory expenses.
ID Guardian launched sales for Teddy the Guardian a week ago, at CES 2015, and announced that the device will cost $499. It will be shipped this spring.
In July 2013, the company announced that the plush toy was available for preorder at a low pricepoint of $69, and that the device would ship to early backers October 2013. ID Guardian sold $716,000 in preorders for Teddy the Guardian.
This isn’t the first time a connected 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 wellbeing during the opening keynote at a conference.
Rajamannar mentioned Humana's teddy bear 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. 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, he said.