Ladies: This 'Smart' Menstrual Product Texts You From Down There
Aunt Flo is a stress case. When a woman has her period, she’s often preoccupied, worried that she might have an embarrassing accident at any moment. If she’s not careful, things could get messy quick. It’s hard to know when a tampon or a pad has reached its limit. Not so with Looncup, a “smart” menstrual cup that just zipped past its goal on Kickstarter, with 20 days to go.
The unusual internal wearable, which its creators claim is the first of its kind, measures, tracks and analyzes the volume, color and regularity of your menstrual flow. Made of clear, medical grade silicone and embedded with a special sensor, the flexible, egg-sized receptacle even dispatches notifications to your smartphone or smartwatch to let you know when it’s full. Sayonara, dreaded mishaps, at least in theory.
As the Bluetooth-enabled Looncup fills, it sends “gentle alarms” in increasing intervals to your smartphone, so you’ll always be aware of precisely when it needs to be emptied. Taking tracking your time of the month to the next level, it also detects the color of your fluid.
Kate Lee, marketing director for Loon Labs, the San Francisco-based, 8-person startup behind the innovative device, says that analyzing the hue of the blood and tissue shed (via RGB sensor) offers a window into a woman’s overall health. Specifically, as she told Mashable, it could potentially lead to the earlier diagnosis of premature ovarian failure and uterine fibroids, among other health issues. Lee personally tested the battery-powered cup for functionality and fit, as did the four other females on her team.
Loon Labs says you can think of its inaugural product “as your monthly period partner, a good friend who drops by when you need her, helping you feel better yourself, and making sure you take care of your body during this special time.” Sounds kind of dreamy, doesn’t it? We’re all for anything that makes that not always so “special” time of the month less of a headache and generally more bearable.
100% Backed in 1week!! Huge THANKS! http://t.co/MpJxPrg3fZ— LOONCUP (@LOONCUP) October 9, 2015
The soft cup, which has raised $73,000 of its $50,000 crowdfunding goal so far, pairs with a free companion app out of the box. The app, available for iOS and Android devices, is slated to go live in January 2016, when Loon Labs hopes to ship its first Looncups. That’s a rough launch estimate, though, with the company refreshingly noting that the actual ship date depends on product revisions and additional tests.
On top of being a creative, high-tech way to better cope with and calibrate your flow, the reusable Looncup also ups your eco cred. Another added bonus: It eliminates your exposure to a toxic cocktail of nasty chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fragrances, etc.) often used in pads and tampons.
Somewhat surprisingly, Looncup is not the first menstrual cup to kill it on Kickstarter. The Lily Cup by Intimina, a hot pink collapsible repository billed as capable of doing the work of 1,625 tampons, raised a whopping $325,660 last year. The difference: Lily isn’t “smart” like the Looncup, unable to send heads-up texts, let alone from inside your body.
We’re curious, ladies. What do you think of the Looncup? Would you buy one? (Tell us in the Comments section below.) If yes, you’ll have to shell out $40 for a single connected cup. All of the less expensive options on Looncup’s Kickstarter campaign have already been scooped up.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.