Remember Doppel? The crowdfunded, mood-altering wearable that doesn't track or measure a single thing? Well, the London startup behind it has been busy working on a study with researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London to prove that it can really de-stress the wearer.
The device aims to set your heartbeat by providing a slow/calming or fast/energising haptic pulse on your wrist, based on the idea that humans respond to tempo and rhythm. After a few manufacturing hiccups, Doppel is now set to ship to Kickstarter backers in summer 2017.
But back to the study just published in the journal Scientific Reports. Doppel's four co-founders worked with Professor Manos Tsakiris and Ruben Azenedo at Royal Holloway's Lab of Action & Body. The study split 52 participants into two groups, both of which wore the Doppel device. All volunteers thought they were testing a blood pressure monitor.
Around half of the people wore a Doppel that was turned on with a slower than their resting heartbeat vibration on the wrist, before public speaking - an activity chosen for being high anxiety and socially stressful. The other half wore the Doppel turned off before the public speaking. The team also continuously measured heart rate and skin conductance (changes in skin resistance based on how much you sweat) as averages and before and after the speech.
So what did they find? The participants wearing the powered-on Doppel reported lower levels of anxiety and stress than the control group and, in physiological tests, the levels of skin conductance did increase in the prep stage before the speech but not as much as the control group. One thing the study didn't seem to find is any evidence that the average heart rate of active Doppel group slowed down compared to the control group.
Still, the big thing to take away is that the artificial calming heartbeat of the Doppel had an effect on both the volunteer's experience as they described it and their body's actual responses.
"The results we got suggest that, rather than measuring ourselves, we can instead harvest our natural responses to heartbeat like rhythms in ways that can assist people in their everyday life." said Professor Tsakiris.
If you're intrigued by the tech, Doppel is now available to pre-order in white or black for £125, a 15% discount on the final c.$179 price. Shipping is estimated as summer 2017 for the US, Canada and Europe.