AARP Innovation Labs announced the winners of its Hacking Menopause Challenge, which aimed to create noninvasive tools to combat common menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, fatigue and sleep disorders.
EloCare won the top prize of $5,000 for the best two-system solution. Pride Chill and NYX Systems each collected $4,000 for the best one-system solution and the best retail-directed one-system solution, respectively. All of the winners also get the chance to work with the AARP Innovation Labs team to continue to build out their products.
EloCare produced a Menopause Assistant, composed of wearable sensors that can be worn as a necklace or bracelet, that comes with a mobile app. Women can monitor their symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and heart rate irregularities on the app. Then, it can give users data-driven intervention suggestions or connect them with a menopausal specialist for treatment.
Pride Chill’s tool helps individuals combat hot flashes by cooling the air they breathe in. The company’s product developers say that by supplying the lungs cool air, a significant amount of energy is saved when the body doesn’t have to cool the air itself, therefore creating a cooling effect to the whole body.
NYX Systems released a range of devices and an IoT platform to target menopause-related insomnia. The sleeping mask tracks sleep quality, movement, temperature and humidity, and flashes red and yellow lights to improve an individual's circadian rhythm. The fitness band track users’ heart rates. Finally, the “hub” monitors the sleeping environment and can connect with IoT lightbulbs, thermostats and blinds to create an optimal sleeping space. All of the devices collect data that can be viewed on an app, which also offers health recommendations.
WHY IT MATTERS
By the year 2025, there will be one billion people on the planet experiencing the symptoms of menopause, according to AARP.
In that same time frame, the so-called femtech industry is projected to be worth $50 billion.
Despite that, the majority of advancements in this field aren’t targeted for older women. Most of these products are being developed for women in their reproductive years.
This challenge lends to the fact that four in five women say they would be interested in noninvasive tech-related solutions to relieve or minimize menopausal symptoms, according to AARP.
THE LARGER TREND
Overall, femtech is on the rise, with over 3,000 app-based women’s health products on the market.
Despite the fact those products are mainly targeted towards fertility and pregnancy, there are other products related to menopause. CurieMD and Genneve both offer consumers video consultations with practitioners specializing in menopause care.
ON THE RECORD
“AARP is engaging with the best creative minds of the femtech industry to build meaningful solutions for the 1 in 3 American women who are currently in a phase of menopause,” Carey Kyler, senior innovation catalyst for AARP Innovation Labs, said in a statement. “We’re proud to highlight the work of the Hacking Menopause Challenge winners, and to help open the dialogue about the more than 35 menopause symptoms women may experience, making it okay to talk about, and to help an underserved market so that they can live their best lives.”