Medical devices tend to look weird and intimidating. While that might be useful for film directors like David Cronenberg, it's not great for normal folks who just need to perform personal medical checks, like monitoring their blood pressure. That's why French gadgetmaker Withings is launching a blood pressure cuff combined with the intuitive, feel-good design of an iPhone app. (To their credit, they haven't slapped some cheesy "iSomething" moniker on it.) It's meant to make personal medicine as simple -- or even fun -- as playing Angry Birds.
Can you get a blood pressure cuff for much less than Withings's $129 asking price? Most definitely, as tech blog Gearfuse rightly notes. But just like Apple, Withings isn't just selling you a thing -- it's selling an experience. Namely: a cuff that actually looks comfortable, a familiar way to operate it, and -- thanks to the iPhone -- an intuitive means of interpreting the results without consulting a specialist or, worse, Wikipedia.
It's compatible with iPod, -Phone, and -Pad; saves your readings automatically; connects automatically with cloud-based personal health tools like Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health; and graphically displays your measurements in context against recommendations from the World Health Organization. (Because unless you're a registered nurse, who knows what a random number alongside the word "systolic" means, anyway?)
It even rolls up into a little package that almost looks -- dare we say -- stylish. The product officially launches today at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.