A new startup claims it can help women avoid embarrassing trips to the bathroom or having to change clothes by providing a “smart” tampon that can track women’s periods and alert them when the tampon must be replaced.
The tampon, offered by startup my.Flow, features a Bluetooth-enabled monitor attached to the string that wirelessly transmits data about a woman’s period directly to her smartphone. The customizable app can alert women when their tampon needs to be changed and can even “learn” about a woman’s cycle the longer she wears it, eventually offering predictions on when her cycle will start and which might be the heaviest days.
“Women need this, because we can’t check how full our tampons are, so we err on the side of taking them out prematurely — which is not only wasteful, but also quite physically uncomfortable,” my.Flow founder and CEO Amanda Brief told Refinery29. “Some women know their flow well, which is awesome. Our product is for those that do not, or would like to learn and track more.”
my.Flow is currently seeking funding ahead of the launch of its smart tampon. But early reviews of the product have been decidedly mixed.
In her review of the product, Engadget’s Dana Wollman wrote that the hardware involved in the tech-loaded tampon would “need to become less intrusive” to catch on in the women’s health market.
“I’m less interested in whether the (largely male) venture-capital community thinks this is worth funding,” Wollman wrote. “I mainly care about whether there are women out there who would buy such a thing. And I’m not convinced there are.”
While there is no release date yet for the smart tampons, the monitor will reportedly cost a one-time fee of $49, while the tampons themselves will be sold as part of a monthly subscription for $13 (the smart tampons have longer strings so as to connect with the monitor).
According to its website, the company hopes to make women’s menstrual cycle “the next tracked biological phenomenon.”
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum