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Fancy new smart jewelry tracks your menstrual cycle
Watch out, Jawbone. Step aside, FitBit. There’s a new wearable in town.
For those who love devices that use GPS and Wi-Fi to track your every move, there’s finally a wearable for you to monitor your period. The Leaf is a piece of metal and wood jewelry that can be worn as a necklace or as a bracelet. It can also be clipped on to your clothes.
Aside from tracking your menstrual cycle, the Leaf also measures your sleep cycle, your stress levels, and your fitness activity.
The smart jewelry was passed out to some Instagram influencers in advance of its market release, and ended up being worn by fitness model Sarah Stage. The photo of Stage wearing the Leaf went viral, due to the appearance of Stage’s shockingly sculpted abs just four days after giving birth.
A photo posted by Bellabeat (@bellabeat) on
Wearables have been rapidly growing in popularity. But with the rise of wearable activity trackers, devices like FitBit and Jawbone, which usually come in the form of a sporty bracelet, are accompanied by criticism that the devices are being made without women’s needs in mind.
While most wearables track things like pulse, sleep patterns, and even calorie consumption, tech criticism reached peak annoyance last fall with the introduction of the Apple Watch and its accompanying health-monitor features. The company’s Healthkit app tracked everything from blood alcohol levels to a wearer’s daily chromium intake, but failed to monitor what doctors consider to be one of the primary indicators of a woman’s health: her period.
Of course Apple releases a system update with changes to the health app but still no period tracking. Because fuck women, right?
— Kate Leonard (@kraaate) April 8, 2015
As The Verge noted in an article about Apple’s missing period tracker, the majority of Apple employees are white and male. So it’s possible that the importance of menstrual and fertility tracking didn’t occur to employees as they designed Apple Watch to monitor pretty much every other bodily function. Which is a surprise, considering the fact that apps like Period Tracker have been downloaded by tens of millions of users.
Not only are period and fertility tracking apps wildly popular, they’re sometimes also used as social communities where women and girls discuss health issues and even relationships. Tracking apps help users determine not only when their periods will arrive, but also when ovulation is most likely to occur—a necessity for couples trying to conceive.
In an op-ed for Pixel Health, Ida Tin of the company behind the popular period tracker app Clue wrote that she’s had a difficult time getting press because most (male) tech editors consider her product to be “niche,” despite its massive sales.
“That’s right: An app targeted at women – 51 percent of the world’s population – is still considered “niche” by the tech world and the media,” Tin wrote. “I didn’t think it would be nice to mention that one of our Chinese competitors, Dayima, has had over 65 million downloads. But sure, it’s ‘niche.'”
If the numbers are any indiction, Leaf’s cute jewelry version of the period-tracking wearable is sure to be a massive hit. The product hasn’t hit stores yet, but preorder sales of the $119 silver leaf model are skyrocketing. The first batch has sold out completely, and the second batch, which ships in July, was 32 percent sold.
A photo posted by Bellabeat (@bellabeat) on
Photo via Bellabeat/Facebook
Mary Emily O'Hara is an LGBTQ reporter. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, NBC Out, Daily Dot, Broadly, Vice, the Daily Beast, the Advocate, Huffington Post, DNAinfo, Al Jazeera, and Portland's Pulitzer Prize-winning newsweekly Willamette Week, among other outlets.