Gizmo Editor Review:
Years ago, when I finally resolved to stop smoking cigarettes, I used an approach called gradual reduction. The ideas is, I would smoke fewer cigarettes each day until I reached zero. It’s an technique that is often recommended by health professionals.
In my case, my attitude was good, but my performance was imperfect. I failed to keep a log or notebook, so I never knew for sure how much I had smoked yesterday or what my target should be for today. It’s a problem that can trip up many would-be quitters who have good intentions but lack the tools to make their plan work.
This is where SmokeBeat comes in. It’s an app that works with a wearable monitoring device to monitor and record a smoker’s habits and help them keep track toward their smoke-free goal. The app was developed byTel Aviv-based Somatix, a company that focuses on collecting data to help individuals and organizations track and measure the efficiency of incentives.
The app uses the gyroscope and accelerometer that are built into smart watches and other wearable devices to identify the hand-to-mouth movements that signal smoking. Once the smartphone and wristband are paired, the app starts recording and measuring smoking activities.
The app acts like a personal smoking coach. It delivers a pop-up alert when it believes you are smoking. It tells you how many cigarettes you’ve smoked today, yesterday or this week. After you set a personal target – say three cigarettes per day – it lets you know if you’re on track or if you’ve blown past your goal.
It also lets you know how much money you’re spent (i.e. wasted) on smokes and how much you’ve save as you reduce your habit. The high cost of smoking has proven to be a good motivating factor for quitters.
Because I haven’t smoked cigarettes in many years, I recruited a family member to test drive the SmokeBeat system. Michael’s not a heavy smoker, but he might have several cigarettes on an average day and use his electronic vapor pipe in the evening.
Michael also has an Android smartphone and watch. The SmokeBeat app is currently available only for Androids (I’m told and iOS version will be released soon) but it works with a variety of wearable devices, including Apple and Taizen watches.
SmokeBeat’s constant reminders that he’s a smoker was both welcome and annoying. It reinforced his determination to quit or cut down, but it was a little like having his mother looking over his shoulder.
He also appreciated the app’s clean and clear presentation of the data that it collects. It helped him analyze his smoking patterns and illuminated what he already suspected: that smoking consumes more time and money than he would like.
Michael noted that the app and increased the battery usage on his watch and it registered a number of false positives telling him he was smoking when he wasn’t. Nevertheless, he said he believes SmokeBeat would be a very helpful tool in his effort to quit the nicotine habit.