Devices like the FitBit, Nike FuelBand, and Jawbone Up have made it easier than ever to keep track of your personal health statistics, but despite their popularity, they’re still somewhat limited when it comes to gathering medical stats. Today, this changes. Thanks to Cue, a new device from San Diego-based technology company of the same name, we’ll soon be able to go beyond steps and calories to analyze what’s going on in our bodies at the molecular level.
Cue is basically a miniaturized medical lab you can keep on your countertop. Using a tiny microfluidics array and a range of different sensors, Cue can give you metrics on things like inflammation, vitamin D levels, fertitlity, influenza, and testosterone — things that were previously only available through lab tests at a hospital.
“We created Cue as a tool for people who are interested in connecting with their health in a much more direct, intuitive, and powerful way than ever before. People can now keep daily track of measurements that used to be available only on a yearly or bi-yearly basis,” says Ayub Khattak, Cue founder and CEO. “We brought together the best minds and spent over four years creating the most advanced consumer health product we have ever seen.”
Here’s how it works. You start by adding a droplet of saliva, blood, or a nasal swab into one of Cue’s special single-use cartridges. Once you have your sample, you simply place the cartridge inside Cue, where it’s analyzed in minutes with Cue’s advanced microfluidics system. This data is then beamed to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, where it’s displayed in a simple, easy-to-understand format.
Depending on what test you use, the app will also provide you with suggestions on how to improve. For example, if Cue notices you’re not getting enough vitamin D, it’ll send you push notifications during the day to encourage you to go out soak up some sun. If your blood shows high levels of C-reactive protein –a reliable indicator of muscle inflammation– the app will give you dietary suggestions that shorten your recovery time.
At this point, Cue can only measure the five aforementioned health markers, but the company’s founders reassured us that this is only the beginning. In the future, they plan to expand the device’s capabilities by offering a broader range of tests.
Cue isn’t set to launch until early next year, but the company has opened up pre-orders today. The first 1,000 buyers will get theirs for just $149 — a full 50 percent less than what the device will eventually retail for. After those first ones are gone, the remaining preorder units will go for $199 a pop. Additional testing cartridges cost between $2 and $5, depending on the test.
It’s worth noting, however, that Cue isn’t FDA approved quite yet. It remains to be seen whether the device’s tests are legit, so those early adopters who buy it in the pre-order period will be “invited to take part in a usability study and provide feedback and data as an important part of Cue’s path to FDA clearance.” So, if you snag one of the first 1,000, you’ll get the device before it’s actually released in exchange for being a guinea pig.
If that sounds like fun, you can lock in your pre-order or find more info here.