Spire smart pebble watches your breathing and mental health

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Image: BRITTANY HERBERT/ MASHABLE

I dont like to think about breathing. Its a job for my subconscious mind, and the more Im conscious of it, the more I become am worried that I will stop exhaling solely.( I have a touch of sleep apnea, so this is not out of the question .) Which is why I was more than a little skeptical of Spire, the new health and fitness gadget and companion app. It wants to tell me all about my breathing: how often I do it, how well I do it and when I dont do it.

I believe I only held my breath the whole period I wrote that sentence .

An attractive, $129 mindfulness and activity tracker, Spire seems nothing like any health contraption Ive ensure before. Its resembles a small, gray rock and instead of sitting on your wrist, you clip Spire onto your waist band or bra and make sure the Spire pebble, which is about an inch in diameter and a half-inch thick, is facing in, resting gently against your skin or the waistband of your underwear. I believed this would be uncomfortable, but I soon forgot I was even wearing it.

As Im writing this, my inhaling rate has jumped to 25 breaths per minute. Do always pant when I write ?

The Spire mindfulness and activity tracker is small, clips to your waistband and comfortable.

Image: BRITTANY HERBERT/ MASHABLE

However, before you put Spire on, you have to charge it on its circular, cork-accented, wireless charging base and then connect it to your phone and the Spire app via Bluetooth Low Energy. Spire vibrates when its connected and sometimes to let you know when youre not breathing.

Whoops, just held my breath again .

The app set-up asks you the usual questions about your gender and weight.

Setup is easy with the Spire app.

Image: Spire

Once the set-up is done and youre wearing the Spire, the screen greets you with a live breathing wave. You can watch in real hour as you breathe in and out. The app is watching for what Spire calls streaks”: 17 breaths per minute( BPM) is held pacify, slower than average, while 21 BPM might indicate that youre tense. Focus streaks indicate a more consistent, but still above average inhaling pattern.

The Spire in its wireless charging base.

Image: BRITTANY HERBERT/ MASHABLE

If Spire senses through your breathing patterns that youre tense, it will ask you to engage in a calming exercise.

Oh, looking, Im tense right now. Spire wants me to engage in some calm breathing activities, but I cant because Im writing this review .

What stresses you out

If you let it, Spire can incorporate locating data, photos and even your calendar to indicate you when, where and maybe why your breathing patterns changed. I noticed that during the time I was running my wifes birthday party that I was stress-breathing for a good chunk of the working day. Breathing data can also be shared with Apples Health App. Spire, by the way, arrives just a few short months before the launch of Apples Breathe App for Apple watchOS 3.0. It helps you manage stress through breathing workouts, but does not actually track breathing.

Spire’s exhaling tracking screen is at left. In the center is the detail you see when you drag up on the breathing. At right you can see that Spire also tracks activity.

Image: spire

Like other mindfulness apps, Spire also includes pre-recorded guidance conferences intended to calm you down, increase focus, reduce tension, and meditate. Its interesting to listen to one of the sessions while watching your live breathing pattern. I would like to say that it helped me breath better or smarter, but the more I listened while watching my breathing, the more I only thought about the purposes of the act of breathing.

One bit of good news: I eventually slowed by breathing down to a very calm 11.8 breaths per min oh, waiting, it says it cant assure my exhaling at all. Am I dead? Never mind, Im back to 21.4 inhales per minute .

Spire watches for your breathing patterns so it can more accurately access when youre inhaling faster or slower than your norm. However, its also fair to say that Spires BPM tracking and assignment of mental states is guess work. Yes, it can see the BPMs and overall breathing pattern, but it cant truly understanding your state of mind. Its intuiting it. On the other hand, it did seem to know when I was a little stressed or, as it often said, focused.

A tiny illuminated appears on the S[ ire when in its wireless charging base.

Image: BRITTANY HERBERT/ MASHABLE

Spire is intended to be worn all day, but not at night. Thats a disgrace since nighttime is when I truly need to way my breathing. I tried to wear it consistently as possible, switching it from one pair of pants to another( it runs for a full week on one charge ). However, I eventually forgot about it and it ended up in the wash, which is actually not a problem. The Spire is waterproof.

Spire also has built in motion tracking, so you also get credit for steps and general activity. Still, its the breathing that matters here.

If the Spire has one issue, it’s battery consumption , not on the device itself, but on the iPhone, where its non-stop breathing tracking induced it the number one battery swine on my iPhone 6. At one point, it accounted for 17% of battery consumption.

Spire may not be for someone as neurotic as me, but, if they can get the iPhone battery intake issue under control, anyone who wants a little assistance chilling out and focusing, might appreciate Spires low-key , non-invasive approach.

Spire: Mindfulness+ Activity Tracker

The Good

Attractive Easy Set-up Waterproof Accurate tracking

The Bad

No nighttime tracking Could be cheaper

The Bottom Line

Breathing right might be the road leading to pacify and Spire could be the vehicle to get you there.

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