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Flo contact-free smart thermometer: Fast, accurate, and social (and an AWT Top Pick)

Back in February we ran a piece about a Kickstarter campaign for the Flo smart thermometer, a connected health device that promised to revolutionize taking and tracking body temperatures. Now Flo is available for sale for US$39.99, and the product is so impressive that it’s an Apple World Today Top Pick for 2016.


It’s rare for Apple World Today to select an accessory as a Top Pick, and even more rare for us to have two accessories in two days be Top Picks! Yesterday it was the Meem cable for backing up your iOS device, while today the Flo smart thermometer is getting the honors. 

To be considered an AWT Top Pick, an accessory has to excel in design and execution, and that describes Flo perfectly. The device was created by Eddie Cheung and Henry Ma at Zeraph, and it seriously deserves to be in every household.

The idea of a smart thermometer is to not only take the temperature of people and objects, but to track those temperatures over time and location, and weave those temperatures into a health narrative. For example, back in the late 1990s I had a two-week period during which I was running high (103-104°F) fevers at night, but felt fine during the day. With Flo, I could have taken my temperature once or twice an hour, tracking this information in the Flo app along with pictures and comments about how I felt, then shown this information to a healthcare provider for possible diagnosis. As it was, they basically felt it was a FUO (Fever of Unknown Origin)…

Flo is a small, key-shaped device. Powered by a single CR2032 battery (included), there’s just one button marked with a Z. Press that button, and the device turns on. It can be used with or without the app; without the app, one simply points the end of the device at a forehead or object from about an inch away, and an LED lights up showing above normal (red), normal (green) or chill (white) conditions.

Using the app, it’s possible to set up profiles for every person in a household. The profiles capture first and last name, birthdate, and gender, as well as an identifying photo. Pressing the button on Flo turns it on, and while the app is open a little thermometer icon changes to show that there’s a Bluetooth connection. Press the button again while holding Flo about an inch from the forehead grabs the temperature, displays it on the profile, and with a tap the temperature can be saved along with a photo and note if desired.

With a swipe on the profile, it’s possible to see a chart of temperature during time — perfect if you want to be sure that a fever has broken and the patient is on the mend. A story can also be created, telling with pictures, temperature readings, and notes just how the patient has reacted during a disease.

The first Ultra-D products were a 28-inch Ultra-D PC monitor prototype — designed for gaming and medical applications — and a 4K tablet-sized 10-inch Ultra-D panel for glasses-free 3D on the go. Televisions – both big and small – are currently in various stages of development, along with tablets, phones and all-in-one PC’s.

According to the folks at Stream TV, Ultra-D converts all content (even non-3D) in “stunning detail, alleviating complaints of motion sickness, limited viewing angles and the need to be in a ‘sweet spot’ to see images in 3D. It also provides users with the ability to adjust 3D “pop” and depth to their liking. 

Admittedly, I haven’t tested Ultra-D yet, so I can’t attest to its quality. And Apple may be working on its own solution along those lines. Still, an iMac with glasses-free 3D could be a hot seller.

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Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.