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Wearable Tech

This health-tracking device sniffs your farts

With the CH4 wearable, now on Kickstarter, the quantified-self movement may have just jumped the shark. Or perhaps flatulence truly is a data gold mine.

We may have just hit peak wearable. Kickstarter/CH4

A wearable device on Kickstarter right now promises to "keep track of your gases" so that it can analyze them and help you adjust your diet to make you, well, less gassy.

Let's just call this what it is -- a wearable that sniffs your farts. (This actually could be a loss for the human nose, depending on what research you believe.)

Please note that it's a full month after April Fools' Day, and this appears to actually be a real concept. Whether it will ever become a real product looks doubtful at the moment, though, as it's only garnered about 2 percent of its fundraising goal on Kickstarter with just 20 days to go.

While it may seem a bit disgusting, or an indication that wearables have jumped the shark or that we've hit peak quantified self, there is a noble social good at the root of a device that's more likely to end up the "butt" of many a joke.

CH4, as it's called (that's also the chemical formula for methane -- get it?), aims to reduce the scourge of unnecessary flatulence in your life, and in society at large, by tracking your farts via a sensor worn just above your posterior or in your back pocket, as well as following the foods you eat via a companion app.

The app then analyzes the food and fart data and suggests changes to your diet to reduce your overall gas passage. (If the creator wants it to work on Apple Watch, he'll probably want to stress to Apple that this is a health app since the company just passed on gas gags for the smartwatch.)

CH4 is actually less invasive than other proposed means, like this pill, for measuring gas, which certainly does seem to be a legitimate way of tracking gut health, or just fine-tuning it ( apps and online tools already let you analyze your poop).

The device is the brainchild of Rodrigo Narciso, a recent New York University graduate in interactive telecommunications who has also explored a variety of other non-flatulence-related wearable projects. To start tracking your own gases, you'll need to pitch in at least $120 (about £79, AU$153) to his crowdfunding campaign, with delivery expected next March.

All jokes aside, this seems like the kind of product that might have some sort of life as a specialty medical product for people who have serious enough digestion issues that it might justify adding another device to their lives. For the rest of us though, it's really hard to put the jokes aside. I mean, just try to look at these sketches without giggling:


What do you think, would you help this campaign break $100,000? Or are you content to continue to break wind as per usual?