Kinsa calls on Elmo for its kid-friendly smart ear thermometer

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The kid-friendly Kinsa  Sesame Street Smart Ear Thermometer

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It's never fun dealing with an ill child, especially when it comes to taking temperatures and keeping track of symptoms. This is why we've welcomed innovations such as the Withings Thermo, which makes the process quick and easy. Kinsa is now hoping to make its latest smart ear thermometer more kid-friendly, too, by adding a dose of Sesame Street's Elmo.

Physically, the big change to the Sesame Street Smart Ear Thermometer is that it ditches the medical, and potentially child-intimidating, look of the standard Kinsa smart ear thermometer, and becomes Elmo. The device is bright red, and features Elmo's face, with the one button on the device becoming his nose.

However, it's not just a case of a quick red makeover, because the new connected thermometer works with an equally Elmo-ified companion app for iOS or Android. This means users will hear things such as temperature readings delivered in Elmo's distinctive voice. He will also offer words of encouragement, telling ill kids he's "sorry they aren't feeling well," and to "feel better soon".

The app lets users quickly log symptoms of different family members (who can be represented by images of different Sesame Street characters) along with temperature readings. This is done by clicking on icons to tell Elmo how you feel and selecting things such as chills, fatigue, cough, or runny nose. Having this info logged can be handy for parents who are looking after children at different times, or for your family doctor.

Other features of the app include getting guidance on next steps to take based on temperature readings and age, such as telling you when to get to a doctor, or what medication to give. A "groups" feature, which is currently in beta, will allow parents to join a group for their child's school, where they will be able to see anonymous information on what symptoms and illnesses are going around other Kinsa users locally.

While the full Elmo experience on the app will only be available to users with the Elmo-branded thermometer, the app will be compatible with previous Kinsa smart thermometers, to a lesser extent. With the SmartStick and Smart Ear thermometers you'll be limited to selecting a Sesame Street avatar and hearing Elmo sounds when you press symptom icons.

Technically, the new device has the same specs, and works in the same way as the standard-looking model which was launched in September last year. There's one button and one setting and reading can be taken within one second, meaning Elmo only has to offer a slight distraction and you'll be able to take the temperature of squirming kids. It's powered by pair of AAA batteries and connects to a smart device using Bluetooth.

The Kinsa Sesame Street Smart Ear Thermometer is available to order now priced at US$60, and will hit shelves in August.

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