Teaching people how to de-stress with games
An Irish technology company has devised a new product to teach people how to relax through games. The Personal Input Pod (Pip) sensor works with smartphones to measure stress levels and help users learn techniques to manage and control stress.
Made by Dublin-based Galvanic, the Pip device is held between the thumb and forefinger, and uses a technique known as galvanic skin response to measure stress levels. Gold-plated sensor points in the device measure the electrical conductivity of your skin, which changes depending on your skin’s sweat levels.
Fight or flight
“This changes in response to your fight or flight response,” explained Darragh McDonnell, chief technology officer of Galvanic. “When you experience stress, your heart rate changes, and blood is pumped to your body’s extremities, including your fingertips. You secrete more sweat.
“We’re trying to allow people to visualise their stress, and then, through practice and trying out different strategies, learn how to manage that stress.”
Crucial to this is the games element, which will be downloaded to smartphones that can link with the Pip sensor.
“When you have to do a task over a period of time, it can get quite boring,” Mr McDonnell said. “But games are a perfect solution to that, because people will willingly commit hours and hours to playing games. It provides an engaging context for people to practice stress management while having fun at the same time.”
The idea is that people will eventually be able to use the techniques they have learned through the games to manage their stress levels outside the apps.
The device will ship with a free game included. Over time, more of thes games will become available as both Galvanic and third party developers come up with new applications for the device.
The firm has turned to Kickstarter to sell the initial run of its products, seeking $100,000 in investment through the crowdfunding resource. With just over two weeks to go, the company has reached just over $42,000 out of $100,000, from almost 40 backers . If it fails to reach the required funding target, the company will not receive anything from Kickstarter – it’s all or nothing, with no facility to extend the time period.
But Mr McDonnell is optimistic that the project will raise the required funds, noting that many Kickstarter projects get a lift towards the end of the fundraising period.
“The Kickstarter funding isn’t the only source of funding we have. We have some angel investment,” he said. “The real strength of Kickstarter is more a marketing exercise and connecting with your users.”