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A sleek new version of the humble blood pressure cuff is turning heads. The Withings Smart Blood Pressure Monitor just won a 2012 iF product design award for its maker, the French company Withings. The iF product design award is an international prize, sometimes called the "Design Oscar," that is awarded by a German group.
The monitor consists of a silver-and-green cuff that plugs into an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and communicates with a free Withings app to track your blood pressure. Once stored on the i-device, your results can be sent along to your healthcare provider or synced up with your home computer.
"By giving Withings this award, iF recognizes how health devices and services have evolved into smart communicating objects," said Cédric Hutchings, the cofounder of Withings. "Up until now, health technology devices have been complicated, with functional designs which are more in line with medical devices used in hospitals....Both the design of the Withings blood pressure monitor and its interface have an ability to easily change people's daily habits."
Withings is working to sell the blood pressure cuff in different contexts than you might expect. It's putting the product in electronics shops -- Apple and Best Buy stores, for example -- rather than ordinary retail pharmacies.
As more and more people deal with chronic health conditions like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, they will look for elegant devices that make them feel like smart consumers focused on making the right decisions. Withings' aim -- to give blood pressure cuffs a modern spin -- can only help people become more engaged with their health. And that's nothing but a good thing.