One man’s heart sensor could be another man’s fitness tracker. The possibilities are many when it comes to the Angel Sensor, a wearable device whose developers have coined it “the first open sensor for health and fitness.”
It’s still in the works, but the vision is for the device to be a wristband that measures pulse, blood oxygen saturation, skin temperature and acceleration. It would deliver that data to a Bluetooth-enabled device.
From there, developers would build software applications for the device. Israel-based Seraphim Sense, the company developing Angel, plans to release its SDK, drivers and app templates as open source.
There are advantages and disadvantages to that model, admitted co-founder Eugene Jorov. “On one side, it makes it more difficult to sell, because exactly what does it do?” he said. “On the other hand, we think that the market is ripe for this kind of technology. One company cannot come up with everything.”
That’s a valid point. Look at the handful of companies like FitBit and Jawbone that have raised millions of dollars and probably used a good portion of it to develop hardware, which at its core seems to be similar across the board of fitness trackers.
The Angel devices leaves out vitals like blood pressure that could be useful for more sophisticated medical use, but Jorov said additional features could come later. “(The market is) still in the low-hanging fruit stage,” he said. “We’ve talked to sports doctors, cardiologists and pediatricians to learn what they want, and combined that with our intuition as developers.”
Jorov, a software engineer whose resume includes time at Sun Microsystems before it was acquired by Oracle, developed the device with engineer Amir Shlomovich.
Since the whole making-sense-of-the-data component is really important for a consumer-oriented device, a lot of Angel’s value will come from independent developers. Jorov said he’s already getting emails and phone calls from some of them, and a crowdfunding campaign set to launch in a few weeks should help get the word out even more. If history repeats itself, that could very well be the case.
Jorov said he hopes the first devices will ship in the spring of 2014.
In the meantime, he isn’t too worried about all of the competition — even Apple’s rumored entrance into the space. “I think this market is big enough for everybody right now.”