Spire launches new app with breath monitoring, contextual feedback

By Heather Mack
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San Francisco-based Spire, which sells a breath-monitoring wearable aimed at increasing mindfulness and calm, launched a new version of its app that includes real-time respiration monitoring and integrations with built-in iOS apps. Apple will also be selling the device in its retail stores across the US starting July 12.
 
Spire – not to be confused with the Indianapolis-based health consultation company Spire Wellness –  has been available for purchase for the last year, but the continuous live stream of respiration and integration with existing apps allows it to be more present in its users’ lives on a daily basis.
 
“You essentially have a very accurate, continuous respirator and then you use that information to promote well-being,” Jonathan Palley, CEO of Spire, told MobiHealthNews. “The core of the experience is, ironically, not in the app, it’s in the real-time feedback.”
 
The device, which looks like a small stone, clips to the users’ clothing and monitors respiration and activity. The latest version of the app now shows a “Breathwave” when users launch the app, denoted by a line that rises and falls as you inhale and exhale. It uses that information along with the accelerometer, and can also be synced with Apple calendars, location and photos to learn what, where, when and who is causing the users’ tendencies towards tension or calm.
 
Spire tracks several states of normal human respiration – neutral, tense, calm and focus – then notices patterns of sustained tension or calm to deliver notifications via the user’s phone. It will encourage users to catch their breath, perhaps taking a few moments to meditate or become more aware of the things making them stressed out. Conversely, it will also nudge them towards noticing particular moments of calm.
 
“That’s where the impact comes from,” said Palley. “It’s not at the end of the day, when you look back on how many steps you’ve taken or whatever, it’s in the moment, what you are doing right then and there.”
 
While Palley declined to comment on the process of how Spire got into Apple stores – and what that means down the line for the company integrating with more Apple products, like HealthKit – he did mention the inherent usability with existing iOS features.
 
“It really complements the Apple ecosystem,” said Palley. “Integrating it with the calendar and even pictures, these real-time notifications and then going back and seeing this meaningful moment. What were you doing? What was going on? We can go back through the calendar and say, ‘Ok, you were really tense during this meeting with this one person’, or if you are always calm in certain locations, it notices that, too.”

Since there are numerous times throughout anyone’s day that could lead to stress, say, being at work or driving in traffic, Spire watches for sustained periods of tension or calm, rather than just firing off a barrage of notifications to take a deep breath in a place like, for example, a busy line at Trader Joe’s.
 
“Resilience is the core idea behind Spire,” said Palley. “If you are in an everyday stressful event, it happens and 30 seconds you’re over it, that doesn’t have an impact. But if its something that stays with you for a while after, that’s chronic stress. That’s what we are watching for.”
 
Palley doesn't consider Spire a medical device, but the company's website features user testimonials claiming the device helps ease work-related stress and sleeplessness or even help panic attacks. And while it may not be a medical device as of today, Palley alluded to a future where Spire could take a more clinical role.
 
“We are an accurate, continuous respiratory monitor," he said. "There are a lot of chronic diseases. You can imagine there are a lot of areas, from mental health and wellness to chronic respiratory illnesses like asthma and COPD. … These are places where we see our platform being very useful."Yung-96 - Silver Metallic