A Japanese hospital has placed an order for MEDIROM’s MOTHER wearable device. MOTHER was first unveiled at CES 2020, and has been pitched as a self-charging activity tracker that uses thermoelectric technology to turn body heat into the electricity needed to power the device.
MEDIROM claims that MOTHER has generated considerable interest from the medical community, drawing inquiries from rehab clinics, medical facilities, nursing homes, and other venues. However, this is the first official order from a medical institution, and comes from the Kansai Medical University Hospital in Osaka.
The MOTHER is comparable to other activity trackers, insofar as it is a wearable band that can monitor a number of different biometrics, including sleep quality and calorie intake. The device can analyze the data it collects, and has applications in the fitness and wellness industry in addition to healthcare. MEDIROM also plans to share the MOTHER SDK with third party partners, which will make it easier for them to import MOTHER data into their own applications.
MEDIROM did not set a firm delivery date, and acknowledged that it would not be able to fulfill the Kansai order immediately. The delay reflects the impact of COVID-19. The pandemic has disrupted the company’s usual production line, so MEDIROM is only able to take provisional orders at the moment. The company is nevertheless hoping that the MOTHER will allow them to capture a portion of Japan’s $34 billion medical and nursing care market.
While the device’s self-charging capabilities set the MOTHER apart, the band is far from the only wearable activity tracker making inroads in the healthcare industry. The biometric Nymi Band has become a popular hands-free authentication tool in clinical and laboratory facilities, while university researchers are hoping to use wearable devices to help track the spread of COVID-19. Huma is also using wearable tech to learn more about mental health.