For women looking to conceive, finding the right tools to simplify and facilitate the process can be hard work. Despite the numerous innovations in the tech space, few have focused specifically on women’s reproductive health (after all, as helpful as 20 different menstrual cycle trackers are, they’re not exactly breaking new ground).
But now, one woman has developed the world’s first in-ear wearable thermometer that measures Basal Body Temperature, providing the data necessary for women trying to conceive. Touted as the smallest wellness wearable to date, YONO, spearheaded by Vanessa Xi, has already raised nearly $30,000 on Kickstarter, with 211 backers pledging their financial support to bring YONO to market.
Currently the only wearable health device for the inner ear that measures BBT, the firm’s product is a tiny thermometer encased in silicone that “provides a highly accurate measurement of a woman’s basal body temperature.” The company explains, “Because the temperature is taken in the closed and controlled environment of the ear canal, the sensor captures the most accurate data without being affected by the ambient temperature.” Based on the data YONO collects, the wearable is able to then relay predictions regarding a woman’s “ovulation timing and provide advice about hormonal health.”
In an interview with Digital Trends, Xi, YONO’s founder, explained her motivation for developing the tiny wearable. “When I was trying to get pregnant a couple of years ago, my OB/GYN asked me to measure basal body temperature.” These temperature readings were necessary to determine when Xi was ovulating. Finding the process both frustrating and tiring, Xi turned to her friends to ask for advice, only to learn that many of them faced the same issue themselves. “It made the stressful process to get pregnant even worse,” Xi told Digital Trends, and as a result, she set out to do something about it.
But in male-dominated Silicon Valley, finding support for a female-centric tool wasn’t easy. Said Xi, “It was a very difficult process to get the first seed fund. I pitched to many investors, mostly men.” Unfortunately, Xi noted, “They didn’t get the idea.” It wasn’t until she finally pitched an alum of her own alma mater, Stanford, that she struck gold. “After I told him that I was trying to build a device to help women get pregnant, he called his wife during our meeting,” Xi said. “He asked his wife, ‘Do you know about this basal body temperature thing? Is it helpful in getting pregnant?'”
As Xi recalled, the alum’s wife’s answer was prompt. “‘I was measuring BBT for our second baby for 6 months, don’t you remember?’ Then the alum decided to invest in YONO immediately.”
With 37 days left on Kickstarter, YONO is just a couple thousand dollars shy of hitting its crowdfunding goal of $30,000, and Xi is confident that the product will be instrumental in helping women get pregnant. “YONO wants to empower women with solid data,” Xi said. After all, when it comes to your body, “You know with YONO.”