DANVILLE, Calif. – Opter, a lifestyle wearables startup, is in the final stages of readying its first product for launch and has its sights on the health insurance industry as a future market.
“We definitely see insurance providers as looking to include these devices in their plans to scale premiums based on behaviors,” said Chalisa Prarasri, CEO and co-founder of Opter.
“More and more people say they would use fitness trackers if they were provided by their health insurer. High market adoption is going to happen there, and then these devices will become ubiquitous.”
Opter plans to launch its first product, the Opter Pose, in early fall. Worn as a necklace, the device tracks posture, activities, nutrition, UV exposure, sleep and blue light, exercise and breathing.
The company plans to conduct a crowdfunding campaign to launch the Pose, then use the data collected to raise investment capital that will allow them to bring the product to retail. From there, they will gauge interest from health insurance companies.
“There are direct health outcomes related to the data being collected from these devices,” said Prarasri, who believes that smart devices like the Pose help what health care providers already do in terms of sleep diaries and food logs—but they lower the barriers to adherence to such treatment plans.
“We can treat chronic diseases but it really comes down to how people take care of themselves every day,” she said.
The Opter Pose is the first in the company’s planned ecosystem of Internet of Things lifestyle devices. Other planned devices include a smart coaster that can track the amount of water a person drinks and a smart fork that weighs food and determines micronutrients as it is eaten.
“Everything you do affects your overall health in some way,” said Prarasri. “We’re using technology to help people build habits.”
Prarasri said Opter is currently working with Johns Hopkins Hospital on a clinical trial monitoring post-surgical spinal patients using the Opter Pose to determine how posture and exercise affects their recovery.