We’ve all been there – at the end of the work week, thinking about upcoming assignments for work, school (or both… yikes), plus that holiday party at aunt Anna’s house and the gift you forgot to pick up for a friend. Add complicated schedules, health issues, and those unexpected life events into the mix and the result is often a lack of focus on important, everyday activities and increasing levels of daily anxiety. For many of us, the feeling wears away as soon as the source of the stress passes by (for instance, when we turn in those completed assignments or when the holiday season is over) but for many, getting back in the swing of things is more difficult than that. Some of us also experience constant stressors like tense work environments and chronic health issues which impair our ability to concentrate and relax.
What if there was a way to naturally induce a calmer, more focused and balanced mental state just by slipping on a wristband? If this sounds good to you, the Canadian startup, Doppel may be of interest.
Co-founded by quantum physicist and overall female powerhouse, Fotini Markopoulou, Doppel is a tech startup that creates wearable, emotionally intelligent relaxation devices. Sounds amazing, so how does it work? Doppel, which looks like a smartwatch creates a vibration pattern inside of the wearer’s wrist similar to that of a heartbeat. It is intended to calm the user or help them feel focused and confident, depending on the manipulation of the rhythm. There is research behind the Doppel device; the creators of Doppel used psychology and neuroscience to better understand how humans naturally respond to rhythms.
The resulting research showed that invoking a calmer, more positive emotional state could be accomplished by slowing the tempo of the rhythm and that we associate and anticipate joy, excitement and other emotional states with faster tempos. Doppel was thus designed to work by activating both these emotional states, almost like our natural heartbeats would. The rhythm is made to resemble a heartbeat because, according to Doppel, it’s the most natural rhythm that exists and has been experienced by everyone since birth. Our bodies not only respond to our own heartbeats but they respond to and synchronize with the heartbeats of others, as has been studied between infants and mothers and between couples. What’s the benefit of synchronizing heartbeats in nature? According to Doppel, there are studies that show that your empathetic heartbeat can contribute to the pain relief of your partner when the two heartbeats are synchronized and that the rhythm of music can cause feelings of calmness.
Doppel works by creating a silent vibration on the inside of your wrist which feels just like the "lub-dub" of a heartbeat. Slower rhythms are calming, and faster rhythms help you feel focused – just like music.
So, does it work? Studies conducted by researchers in the psychology department of the Royal Holloway, University of London confirmed that Doppel’s heartbeat-like vibrations can make wearers feel less stressed, even when met with socially uncomfortable or stressful situations. The Doppel device was measurably physiologically and psychologically calming to the study group who wore activated devices. That wasn’t the only study conducted by the Royal Holloway, University of London. They also conducted a study to see if the Doppel device could ease stress. Their findings were that those participants who wore the Doppel device experienced fewer breaks in concentration and were thus more focused. Both studies can be found here and here respectively.
Doppel has a companion app, available in the Google Play and Apple App stores which allows users to set their "heartbeats," however after the setting is selected the phone is no longer needed. The Doppel device responds by touch allowing users to use just the device to toggle between the two pulse settings, check the battery and adjust the intensity. Users can also access their personal rhythm and resting heart rate information, which is stored on the device.
Thinking about getting one of these bad boys? Well, Doppel will be available for purchase some time at the beginning of this year and will cost $179. It will be available in black or white and will initially ship to the United States, Canada, and the European Union. They are now processing the first batch of their Kickstarter orders, however, a request for their product can be made on their website.