Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Home SCIENCE These futuristic devices could track your stress levels

These futuristic devices could track your stress levels

Health monitoring technology like Google Fit and the Apple Health app rake in millions of dollars each year. But they are mostly limited to physical aspects like fitness and sleep quality. Recently, however, a number of companies are attempting to address the psychological aspects of consumer well-being, raising numerous questions about privacy, accuracy, and ethics.

Both Fitbit and Tinder co-founder Sean Rad are offering new products advertised as tools to better track and improve users’ mental health. The newest article of the first, the scythe 2, is a wearable device similar to the Apple Watch that tries to monitor your stress levels in real time and then reacts accordingly. Aside from already ubiquitous data points like heart rate and skin temperature, Fitbit’s Sense 2 constantly measures electrodermal activity, also known as sweat levels.

[Related: A beginner’s guide to Google Fit and Apple Health.]

Meanwhile, Radi happy ring company it’s already taking pre-orders for its new wearable design that communicates with users whenever it notices biometric fluctuations that indicate stress. “Happy Ring is not intended to be a diagnostic tool. Rather, the company believes it has cracked the code to monitor users’ progress, in a kind of mental health analogous to fitness trackers like the Apple Watch and Oura.” TechCrunch in a recent writing. “Like those products, it is intended as a method of monitoring those vital readings and presenting actionable data to help get the user back on track.”

There is no upfront hardware cost for Happy Ring; instead, consumers will pay for one of three subscription tiers that range from $20 to $30 per month per contract. When paired with its app, Happy Ring will monitor users’ biometric data in real time, alerting them when it detects spikes in stress or tension and directing them to help like cognitive behavioral therapy and breathing exercises, meditation prompts, and educational articles.

[Related: Tinder and the metaverse are breaking up.]

Many consumers may be intrigued by the idea of ​​having a constantly available, comparatively cheap digital advisor at their side, but there are numerous caveats for new products like these. First, as always, is understanding how customer data will be stored, used, and potentially sold to third parties. None of these services is purely altruistic, and consumer health data is a gold mine to countless companies seeking to honor their markets.

Second, an app’s recommendations are rarely a perfect substitute for real mental health services and supports. While access to counselors and psychologists remains a major barrier for a large part of the country, Products like Fitbit and Happy Ring won’t always be suitable alternatives. Then there is the question of precision: the inner psychological workings are much more complicated than physical exercise routines. It could be ineffective, potentially even dangerous, to think that these intersectional problems can be broken down portable devices and applications. This is not to write off the industry entirely, but a healthy degree of skepticism is necessary when approaching what looks to be an inevitably massive industry in the years to come.


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