Wake-up and de-stress: Prana’s wearable tracks posture and breath
Apr16

Wake-up and de-stress: Prana’s wearable tracks posture and breath

Editor’s note: Wearables.com is excited to introduce the Startup Spotlight, where we’ll interview the creative people behind innovative, novel ideas in the wearables world. To kick off the series, we’re beginning with Prana out of San Fransisco.  Activity trackers keep tabs on what you do when you’re moving, while sleep trackers monitor your rest (or lack thereof) come nightfall. But what about all of that time spent not really doing anything? Most likely, you’re sitting for hours on end, and the cofounders of Prana wish not to wile that time away. They believe so deeply in the interconnectivity of breath and posture that they spent two years developing technology to take a holistic look at how those factors affect health. Prana is the only wearable so far that “can detect diaphragmatic breathing, breath patterns, and simultaneously evaluate posture.” Prana utilizes a small sensor case worn on the waist area that takes into account the effects of posture on breathing and differentiates between types of breaths. It’s powered by three accelerometers and communicates with its app on the user’s smartphone via a low-energy bluetooth connection. Cofounders Andre Persidsky, Dr. Paul Abrahamson and Alex Ahlunh have what Persidsky tells Wearables.com is “a combined 40 years of interest and experience in meditation and yoga.” In fact, Persidsky was on a meditation retreat when the idea struck him for an activity tracker that went beyond calories and steps and towards internal health. For years, after all, countless studies have proven breath and posture essential to good health and the management of sleep disorders, anxiety, immunity, blood pressure, chronic pain, depression, ADHD, asthma and more. “Most activity trackers don’t do much other than ping us to get up, which is great,” explains Persidsky. “But most people are sitting six hours a day in their chair, which is much longer than they are standing or walking. People need to improve or maximize the quality of their sitting time.” To teach proper breathing techniques, the Prana wearable can be viewed two ways: Clinical Mode or Game Mode. Prana Medical Mode offers full data analytics for each breath, tracking 10 distinct stats plus posture. Prana Game Mode is a user-friendly way to train breath. The user inhales, exhales and holds breath to follow the pattern of flowers on-screen while avoiding obstacles. It can also passively track your habits; while wearing Prana throughout the day, the device will notify you when your posture is poor by sending you a slight buzz and message on your phone to sit upright, take a big belly breath and re-focus on your body. Essential to the Prana experience are short training videos and “an extensive library of breathing exercises...

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Using wearables for next-level aid in smoking cessation
Apr07

Using wearables for next-level aid in smoking cessation

Despite there being a variety of ways to kick the habit, cigarette smoking is the cause of one in every five deaths in the United States each year. So what if quitting could be easier and more personalized? Pharmaceutical company Chrono Therapeutics’ wearable device, the SmartStop, was developed to help those addicted by using programmable, transdermal nicotine replacement therapy. Assuming the Federal Trade Commission approves the SmartStop, Chrono will release the device in 2017. While nicotine gums and patches can be useful, says CEO of Chrono Alan Levy, Ph.D., “they do not address the cyclical nature of nicotine cravings and offer little to no behavioral support.” That’s precisely where SmartStop flexes its intelligence by adapting to nicotine craving cycles and providing support to its users.     The SmartStop holds nicotine in replaceable cartridges to provide the stimulant throughout the day. Unlike patches and gum, the SmartStop is programmed to give varying levels of nicotine based on craving cycles. The device also has Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone app designed to support those going through the process of smoking cessation. It sends notifications to remind and encourage those using the device, as well as provides incentives to stay away from cigarettes. It even provides support networks, which can greatly improve you chances of giving up smoking for good. Chrono isn’t the only company trying to help others quit the cancerous habit. Kiwi Wearables developed an app called Breath.io that acts as a smoke drag detector and nicotine calculator to help users wane off their nicotine addiction. There is also an Android Wear App called Stop Smoking! for Wear. It keeps track of how long you’ve gone without a cigarette, how many cigarettes you’ve avoided, and how much money you’ve saved. With wearables, people can quantify their progress and get encouragement to keep...

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A wearable tracking system for incurable Parkinson’s disease
Mar26

A wearable tracking system for incurable Parkinson’s disease

Wearables have gained great traction in the health and medical fields, but only recently have powerful companies like Intel, Apple, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation begun pilot studies for the devices’ use in assessing Parkinson’s disease. Meanwhile, however, a small Cleveland-based company called Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies (GLNT) has made great strides on Kinesia 360 — a wearable developed for those who suffer from the incurable illness. The Kinesia 360 measures Parkinson’s with two wearable sensors — one for the wrist, one for the ankle — which send data to a mobile app for analysis. The dual sensors better detect motions unique to those with Parkinson’s, and the collected data can be sent to a secure web portal for clinicians’ and researchers’ real-time access. The product kit comes with an “Android based tablet” thats pre-equipped with the Kinesia 360 app. The tablet, the size of a small smartphone, has both WiFi and broadband connectivity. In addition to keeping the collected data, Kinesia 360’s app allows for manual inputs, like sleep duration, and allows users to rate the severity of any symptoms. According to GLNT Product Manager Christopher Pulliam, PhD, it wasn’t easy developing the sophisticated product. “Developing technology, such as Kinesia 360, to accurately and remotely measure Parkinson’s is extremely challenging,” he said in a press release. “Was an individual typing on a keyboard or did he have tremor? Was she folding the laundry or was it dyskinesia?” To avoid any pitfalls, the Kinesia 360 uses certain data-processing algorithms along with specific sensor positioning and sensitivity to make it a one-of-a-kind tracking system for those with the disease. The technology in the Kinesia 360 has been approved by 60 publications and has received medical device certifications domestically and internationally. It is now...

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