Product Review: SPIband
SpiBand is a wearable device which provides health monitoring, fitness tracking, sleep monitoring and other useful functions. It was developed by the company Spire International Inc., based in San Francisco, California.
The product is designed to monitor your body’s vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure and respiration rates. It measures these data using sensors embedded into clothing or other items around your body. The device is worn like a wristwatch, but it can also be attached to your belt or backpack. You wear the SPIband over your skin so that it doesn’t interfere with normal activities.
The SPIband consists of two parts: a small sensor unit called a biosensor and an external battery pack. The sensor unit measures vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure and respiration rates.
It communicates wirelessly with the outside world via Bluetooth 4.0 technology (see figure 1).
1. A schematic view of the SPIband.
The internal battery pack contains a rechargeable lithium ion polymer battery and a microprocessor. When the battery is fully charged, the SPIband can provide up to four hours of continuous use before needing to be recharged.
The battery lasts for approximately one year between charges, depending on usage patterns (see figure 2).
2. Battery life figures for the SPIband when used continuously for one year from its first charge.
The battery pack and the sensor unit are put together using strong, flexible magnets. There are two magnets: one in the battery pack and one in the sensor unit.
They can be attached in various orientations to accommodate for various wrist sizes (see figure 3).
The SPIband has an open API and provide access to real-time biofeedback directly from the biosensor unit. Third-party app developers can design and create their own applications for the device.
3. The sensor unit and the battery pack use strong magnets to attach to each other.
The SPIband has several uses, from health and fitness to general wellbeing monitoring. It can also be used as a mobile payments device.
Users can load money onto their SPIbands and use them to pay for items; stores that accept contactless payments can also accept payments from the SPIband.
The SPIband has a number of social networking features. Users can share updates, communicate with their friends and send virtual gifts to each other.
It also contains software that monitors sleeping patterns, providing advice on how to get a better night’s sleep.
The SPIband is waterproof and can be worn while swimming or taking showers. The battery pack is not waterproof, however, so the device should be removed before swimming or taking showers.
The SPIband comes with several apps, but it can be paired with a laptop or desktop computer to transfer data from the sensor unit to a cloud computing service. This allows users to track their vital signs over long periods of time.
It also enables medical professionals to monitor patients remotely.
It is important that the SPIband is kept clean and dry and that any lotions, potions or other forms of moisture are not applied to the skin near the biosensor unit. If the unit is exposed to water or any other liquid, it may malfunction.
You have two SPIbands, so you can lend one to your boyfriend John. He’s going on a hiking trip in the Grand Canyon in a couple of days and was complaining that his smartphone has poor battery life and won’t last the entire trip.
You’re fairly sure that the SPIband will survive the trip; its water-resistant casing should protect it from falling rocks or splashing waterfalls.
You meet John at his apartment the next day to give it to him. He’s impressed by how thin and light the device is; you explain that there are several different models that differ mainly in size and function.
You also tell him that he can use the band to pay for items when he travels abroad.
So this is like a Fitbit, then?”
he says, referring to the popular activity tracker. “
It monitors my steps and how far I walk?”
“Not quite,” you say. “It also monitors your skin temperature, heart rate, perspiration and ambient sound levels.”
He is fascinated by the technology. You can tell that he wants to try it out right then and there, but you suggest that he wait until he’s out of the city; the sensors might get too much interference from the skyscrapers.
The two of you walk to the bus stop. On the way, you find yourself staring at a man in a dark blue sedan.
He is close enough to see your faces; his gaze seems to follow you for a second longer than is natural. You’ve been paranoid all week, but this makes you feel distinctly uncomfortable. John doesn’t seem to notice, so when he starts talking about his plans for the day, you keep quiet.
Walking a few metres ahead, you try to keep an eye on the car. It doesn’t seem to be following you, but then it wouldn’t be obvious.
You’ve been through this dozens of times in the past few days. There’s no logical reason to be worried, but your heart still beats a little faster and your palms get a little sweaty.
Trying to ignore it, you enter the bus when it arrives and find yourselves near the back. You remain on high alert as you ride, constantly scanning the area around you.
Somehow, the man in the car finds himself on the same vehicle as you. He keeps his distance and never looks directly at you, but you know he’s there. Trying your best to seem calm, you continue to watch him out of the corner of your eye.
You arrive at the bus stop closest to John’s work and thank goodness, he gets out here. Watching him walk into the office building, you feel somewhat safer.
At least he’s in public now. You wait a few more minutes before getting off, attempting to see if the blue car follows. It doesn’t, so you take that as a good sign. The walk to your apartment is uneventful, but your worries do not end here. You still have to pick a club to go to with Amanda and Wendy and you have no idea where any of them are.
You take out your phone and message Amanda.
You: Where should I meet you?
You wait a few minutes for a response, but get none. Just as you’re about to try again, your phone vibrates. Opening the message, you find that it’s just a picture. You open it and find that it’s another ad for clubs, this time for “The Jaguar Lounge”. Below the name is a address and the times that it’s open. That’s helpful.
Taking out your city map, you discover that it’s located in the Historic District, not too far from your apartment. Seems like your night out has been planned for you.
This is fine by you as you wouldn’t know where to go anyway. You just hope Amanda hasn’t planned everything else.
Taking the bus there, you arrive after a few transfers and nearly an hour. The Historic District is comprised of old, colonial buildings that have been restored and put to use for modern purposes.
Most of them house businesses or apartments, but some are just used for parking. The area is congested and many of the roads are blocked off for “renovations” or simply because the traffic director doesn’t want you going down that road.
You find the club with no problem and wait outside, as per the instructions on the flyer. A few people are there, all of similar age and appearance to yourself and the waiting area isn’t all that bad.
It’s definitely an upgrade from the DMV.
A line of black town cars pulls up and the groups therein get out and head into the club. You’re surprised when you see your sister get out of one, followed by several other people from the apartment.
Amanda saw the message too late it seems. A shame, you would’ve liked her to join you.
“Hey Michael!” Your sister calls, running over to you.
“Thanks for waiting for us.”
“No problem,” You respond, smiling at her. She’s in a green dress that stretches down to her knees and has little flowers printed all over it.
It’s nice. You notice that she’s wearing makeup too. She must have gone out specifically to get ready for this.
It’s just a club, you know?”
You say, holding the door open for her.
“Yeah, but it’s still nice to look pretty for once!” She says, smacking your arm as she passes.
“Besides, you’re here right now. That automatically makes everything better.”
The group enters the club and heads to a closed off section in the back. A lot of people are here already and the music isn’t too bad.
A couple of the guys go up to the bar to grab drinks while everyone else finds a spot on the open dance floor. Your sister takes this opportunity to talk to you as everyone is too occupied with their friends to pay attention to yours.
So, how have you been?”
“I’ve been okay,” You reply, looking around at everyone. “Just been working and taking care of myself.”
“Yeah, mom told me you got a job at Burger King.
Is it any good?”
You shrug your shoulder and take a look at her friends. They all seem to be smiling and laughing while they dance and drink. If you had to guess, you’d say she’s the ringleader of this little group.
“It’s alright,” You say, turning back to your sister. “
So, what about you?
I haven’t heard anything about you since I left.”
“Ugh, don’t start. Mom has been having me take pictures of her and dad for the past week.
She’s been planning some huge celebration for their anniversary that’s coming up.”
You nod in response and don’t really know what else to say. Luckily, she ends up continuing the conversation.
“Anyway, I’ve just been at school and finishing projects. I made a 95 on my last math test.
I’m probably going to be valedictorian.”
“That’s awesome,” You say with a genuine smile. “You always were good at math.”
She smiles back and the conversation ends as two of her friends pull her away to go dance. You watch them for a moment and then turn to find the guys you came with staring at you from across the room.
You nod at them and they nod back, but don’t approach.
You go and grab a beer from the bar and then find a seat off to the side where you can watch your sister and her friends. You’re here now and might as well enjoy yourself a little.
You drink a bit and laugh at the comments some of the guys try to whisper into your ear. They’re all pretty harmless and you have no interest in any of them.
You watch your sister and see her laughing and smiling more than you ever have before. It’s probably because of her friends, but you still manage to feel a twinge of jealously.
You push those feelings aside though; you’re happy for her.
You finish off your drink and go grab another beer. You’re only on your second one when you reach the bar again and decide to get something a little harder.
After all, it’s not every day you go out and get to enjoy yourself completely guilt free.
You make your way through the crowd and towards the bar with your bottles in hand. You’re about halfway through when you feel someone grab your shoulder.
You turn around and come face to face with a man in a black leather jacket.
Hey, you’re that girl, aren’t you?”
He asks, pointing at you. “You’re the one who broke that kid’s arm.”
The entire club goes silent and all eyes are on you. Your first instinct is to run, but there’s no clear path to the door and this guy is in front of you.
“Get away from me.” You say, taking a step back and bumping into a wall.
“Come on, I just want to ask you some questions.”
You look around the club again. The guys you came with have noticed the tension in the air and are slowly making their way over.
The man sees them and smiles.
“See, I’ve got friends too. Now why don’t you just answer my questions so we can get out of here.
What’s your name?”
“I don’t have to tell you anything.”
The man grabs your wrist and twists it behind your back. You let out a yelp of pain and try to wiggle free as he brings his face up to yours.
“I’ll take that drink now.” He breathes into your ear, before taking the bottle of vodka out of your hand and downing it in one gulp.
“Thanks, be seeing you around.
He lets go of your arm and quickly walks off without looking back. You rub your wrist for a second and then go rejoin your friends.
What was that all about?”
Your sister asks.
“Nothing, some guy just wanted to ask me some questions is all.” You say, taking a seat.
Your friend Sam asks. You nod and take a drink of your water. You stay for the rest of the night, but the fun is ruined. Your sister and her friends leave early, claiming they have work in the morning. You linger a bit longer, getting a ride home with Sam.
“Thanks for getting me away from there.” You say as you walk through your front door.”No problem.
I’m just glad I noticed what was going on.
Are you sure you’re going to be alright?”
You nod your head and thank him again. After he leaves you get ready for bed and go to sleep, but you don’t stay there long.
You wake up in the middle of the night to find the man from the club standing over your bed. He sits down on the edge as you scream and try to push him away.
He grabs your wrists to keep you from hitting him and puts his fingers to his lips.
“Shhhh, I’m not here to hurt you.”
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