Worried your child might have a fever? Help is now at hand thanks to a cunning new invention developed by New Deal Design and VivaLnk, a pair of San Francisco companies who devote themselves to developing solutions to problems you never even knew you had.
The Fever Scout is a soft wearable thermometer that continuously monitors the temperature of whatever it is stuck on, then sends the information wirelessly to your smartphone. As a result, you can check your child’s temperature in the middle of the night by simply looking at your phone, making childcare as easy as Instagram.
“Until now, monitoring your kid’s temperature has been clumsy and awkward,” says the promotional video, “poking things in their ears, sticking things under their tongues, or even dragging things across their foreheads.”
The Fever Scout changes all that. Not much bigger than a sticking plaster, and designed as a colourful swooshy zigzag, the rechargeable device simply sticks to your child’s torso and sends a continuous stream of temperature data to you via Bluetooth. You can even set a temperature alert, so it will wake you if it gets too high. The temperature history is stored on the app too, so you can monitor recovery time and the effectiveness of drugs (as well as see when your child has cleverly removed the patch and stuck it on the radiator to get a day off school).
“We wanted to make this into a fun thing, so it’s actually kind of a symbol of activity,” says Gadi Amit, founder of New Deal Design. “We didn’t want it to be too medical.” New Deal also invented the FitBit, a device that spawned an entire industry of wearable health trackers – a market set to reach $5bn by 2019, of which electronic temperature monitoring alone will account for over $800m.
As the smart “self-care” industry booms, these wearable devices are getting ever smaller, which poses a challenge to designers. VivaLnk developed the stick-on “eSkin” circuit board, a flexible, breathable patch that can be so slender it’s almost invisible – which raised the question of what the Fever Scout device should actually look like, so it doesn’t get lost between sheets or clothing.