I will tell you a story about fascinating new variety of health applications that are using biofeedback mechanics – some of which outranked Angry Birds and Talking Tomin many European countries. You will see more and more such sensing apps coming to appstore in the near future.Biofeedback apps trigger new experience in people as we interact with the smart-phone device itself and at the same time learn what is going on in our bodies.
Let me show you how heart app works – I will use short video clip here… Okay, here we go – starting the app … index finger covering camera while holding smart-phone in the same hand You could test it on the ears or other parts of the body, but using your index finger is the easiest way. It takes about 5 seconds to lock on to the signal and observe the heart pulse. Okay.Typical resting heart rate in humans is around 70 bpm. The lower the rate the better - the more fit and trained you are. My resting heart rate is typically 42 - let me try if I could get my heart beat out to you ….waiting… now my body is flushed with stress hormones and it is much higher
Stress and smart-phonesBefore I conclude here is one additional thing – it is about stress an smart-phones. It is not what you probably think, that ever since mobile phones were invented the stress level is up – it is about how to 1. determine the level of stress someone currently experience and 2. how to reduce it using biofeedback app on the smart-phone. Gadgets to reduce stressSeveral heart rate based biofeedback devices are on the market for some time – like Stress Eraser and emWave just to name a few. These devices, that typically cost $150-$200, use an oximeter to determine heart pulse. During deep breathing heart pulse is changing for 10 bpm or so. Synching pulse variation with deep breathing in a nice sine wave is the role of the biofeedback gadget. Breathing exercise works in a relaxing way and having short 5 minutes sessions every day helps reducing the level of stress. Stress management on smart-phone Voila – in short term future we will see biofeedback smart-phone apps for reducing stress too. Just imagine a difference it would make having your own stress app on the smart-phone – taking 5 minute exercise on deep breathing and listening to iTunes at the same time - just before you meet your boss or perhaps after. Or before you start an exam in the school. Or just consider any other situation that comes to your mind. Stress Metering Not only we will use smart-phones to reduce stress – we will use heart rate and heart rate variations to determine the level of stress in a particular individual. Such measurement would take 1-2 minutes on a smart-phone, and we could quantify the level of stress on the scale of 1-10. When this is applied to hundreds of million of users on internet with connected devices we will be able to track most stressful countries, cities, companies and professions, schools and classes and we could follow stress propagation within families and friends. I am big fan of deep breathing either using gadgets on couch or biking hills behind Palo Alto…but the best tool I found to cracking stressis this – do you know what is it ? – it only works on north shore beaches of Maui….MobileHealth is a great place to be in and innovate – one that gives us huge satisfaction because what we do could helps people living better lives.
MobileHealth 2011Biofeedback apps on smart-phonesQuantitative data for sustainable behavior change Bojan Bernard Bostjancic, PhD
8 million downloads of “heart rate” apps 50.000 downloads per day and growing Apple App Store, Android Market, …