The number of mobile-connected health devices continues to proliferate. We recently came across one that stood out, even among the cool ideas and form factors that we’ve come to expect from the Quantified Self movement. Similar to how the Fitbit tracks steps, the Quitbit is a smartphone-compatible lighter that tracks every time you light up, presumably to smoke. We had the opportunity to speak with their co-founder, Ata Ghofrani, about the device as well as their recently launched Kickstarter campaign.
Shiv Gaglani, Medgadget: How did you come up with the idea for the Quitbit?
Ata Ghofrani: My cofounder Kuji and I were both smokers and met while in grad school together at Brown. One day while I was trying to quit he asked me if I knew how much I smoked, and I realized I really wasn’t sure. We then started tracking our smoking and grew frustrated with the existing solutions so we started thinking about how to make it easier. What we came up with was the first smart lighter that seamlessly tracks smoking.
Medgadget: What other smartphone-based solutions for smoking cessation are there?
Ghofrani: There’s a ton of stuff out there that people are using on their phones. I’ve read that there are 15 million downloads every year for smoking cessation apps. There’s everything from simple informational apps to complex social networks for people to find support as they quit.
Medgadget: What was the thought process that lighters are the right way to go, as opposed to e-cigarettes?
Ghofrani: That’s a great question because we’re actually fans of using e-cigs to quit and feel that Quitbit works great with other tools like e-cigs and gum. You can track your smoking and use the Quitbit to reduce, while using others tools for the cravings. At the end of the day though, we wanted to create a device that everyone could use, include those whom are uncertain of using nicotine to quit.
Medgadget: Can you describe your goals with the Kickstarter?
Ghofrani: We’re big believers in the lean hardware movement, which emphasizes reducing waste in the product development cycle and proving out demand early. Kickstarter is perfect way to build a strong community behind our product and also provide the upfront capital needed to go into manufacturing. It also proves out demand and let’s us minimize waste.
Medgadget: Who is on your team and what makes you believe you all can help people stop smoking?
Ghofrani: Quitbit’s core team includes myself, my co-founder Kuji, who’s the manufacturing guru behind the Zeo sleep tracking system, Fred, one of the key engineers behind the Zeo as well, and Pete, our app specialists.
No one can stop someone else from smoking expect themselves! Ultimately smoking is a personal decision, we just hope to provide the tools to help keep smokers motivated and on track to reach whatever goals they may have.
Link: Kickstarter campaign…