The US National Design Awards were last night in New York, where 20 products were vying to be named the country's best. The winner, chosen by public voting, was a fitness tracker called Spire, which claims to keep tabs on your overall well-being by measuring heart rate and breathing patterns to monitor stress.
Spire was designed by Stanford University's Calming Technology Lab (a real thing!) as part of a three-year development process. Like other trackers, which are more focused on exercise, Spire tracks the typical data like movement, physical activity, and heart rate. But it also measures the length and depth of your breathing, which is a key indicator of stress; short, shallow breaths mean your stress level is high.
If Spire indeed deems that you are stressed, it will send a notification to your phone with tips on how to relax. Conversely, if your breathing indicates that you are too calm and relaxed, Spire might nudge you to get moving.
It certainly has a lovely design and interface, although I'm not sure if I want something on my bra strap telling me to chill out all day. Should this product have won over mushroom bricks or a hydrophobic shirt? Check out the other contenders for the People's Design Award here.