The only time I’ve ever worn a watch in my life is when I ran cross-country and I needed an IronMan to track my intervals. Other than that, I figured if I kept a watch on my wrist, I would fixate on checking the time and drive myself crazy. Well, crazy has caught up with me anyway. I’ve been a bundle of stress lately, so I eagerly await the widespread availability of a Bandu “watch.”
Time For A Deep Breath
Bandu is a wristwatch-type device that keeps tabs on the body’s stress level. Bandu monitors changes in motion, skin conductance, and temperature related to how our nervous systems respond to stress. Changes is breathing, increased perspiration, help identify increased mental stress. When signs of mounting stress begin to show, Bandu relays information to a complimentary smartphone app. Your phone delivers alerts by way of suggestion, letting you know that maybe it’s time you play a game, hang out with the family pet for ten minutes, give your brain and body a chance to unwind.
If the concept seems a little Sci-Fi, that might be because the company behind the product is Neumitra, founded by MIT alumni. In addition to co-founding the company, Robert Goldberg holds a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. His partner, Anand Yadav, came aboard after working on product development for the Human Genome Project.
Biofeedback startups have been gaining momentum lately, especially in the realm of diet and nutrition. Consumers are perhaps more eager than ever to take control their health, and better understand internal gadgetry. As technology scales, data collected from Bandu devices might help create personalized action plans for reducing stress or eliminating avoidable triggers.
Act Before Vacation Or Illness Come Calling
I thought that I was good at managing stress, but no so much lately. I’ve somehow strayed from my normal relaxation techniques–yoga class, frequent walks, treating my neighbors to a voice-cracking rendition of my favorite Boss tunes. And I’m starting to pay the price. I can’t sleep, I’ve been more easily distracted lately. I’m grumpy, and I always feel like I don’t have enough time, or that I can’t keep pace with the tasks that I need to finish. Why would it be a smart move to resume my anxiety-relieving practices?
Clinical anxiety disorders afflict roughly 40 million Americans, and each year doctors sign off on at least 200 million sedative prescriptions. Beside anxiety and insomnia, stress–the silent killer–can lead to alcohol or drug abuse and other serious heart and health problems. I don’t like to wear watches or take medicine, but I’ll choose the watch over the pills.
A Startup Slowdown
Running a startup requires about as many skills as you can imagine, but maybe none are quite as important as the ability to manage stress. Maintaining poise during a pitch, dealing with server problems, steering a company through a pivot–inability to handle the routine pressures of entrepreneurship can prove disastrous for the health of companies and the people working so hard to make them successful.
Goldberg has turned to Indiegogo, trying to crowd-fund the next stage of Bandu’s commercial release. Anyone interested in finding out more about the project, or helping the good doctor find some stress-relief as well, can learn more here.