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Mood and Mind

The stress reduction app that knows how stressed you are by your fingertips and uses games that train you to relax under pressure

Stress reduction techniques are all very well but when you’re under real pressure, they often get forgotten.  A new app measures your stress levels via your fingertips and uses games to train you to relax in stressful situations. Sign us up

Whether you find yourself in the middle of a job interview or at the start of an important speech, stress and anxiety can creep in and seem to be inevitable. We’ve all be there – palms sweating, heartbeat echoing in your ears, shallow breathing, heart in your throat – once the stress kicks in, forget focus and calm.

Now, a new app lets you play biofeedback-fueled games on your smartphone! PIP Biosensor and its accompanying apps (created by Galvanic, a Dublin start-up) uses a small, egg-shaped biosensor to read the electrical changes known as electrodermal activity (EDA) that your body releases from your fingertips.
The PIP Biosensor measures stress levels from your fingertips

PIP is a biosensor that helps people measure, monitor and manage stress

Healthista watched new health technology in action at a showcase held at the Design Museum where the PIP Biosensor will be on display until late April as part of being shortlisted for the AXA Health Tech & You Awards.

‘PIP is a biosensor that helps people measure, monitor and manage stress through EDA,’ Marie Clarke, Head of Marketing at Galvanic, said. ‘When you are in a meeting or an interview your hands may start to sweat, but as you relax that biofeedback changes, and that is what PIP measures.’

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This biofeedback is recorded through games included in the PIP smartphone app. The ‘Loom’ and ‘Relax and Race’ games are carried out solely through the PIP biosensor as it reads your stress levels via EDA measurements from your fingertips and then provides real-time statistics.

One game teaches people to manage in a real-life stressful situation with a race format where the more you relax, the faster your dragon flies.

The games are geared to help the user practise techniques to lower their stress levels. After each completed game, an overall score is given and logged so the user can see his or her progress throughout each attempt.

MORE: 7 steps through your next stressful moment
You must relax in the ‘Relax Race’ game
for your dragon to fly faster

‘Like with any new skill, stress management requires practise,’ Clarke said. ‘With the games, the more you relax the better you progress’.

During the Relax and Race game you’re a dragon racing another dragon and the more you relax, the faster the dragon goes.  This puts you under a degree of competitive stress and then encourages you to relax during it.

The second game called ‘Loom’ features frozen scenery with a tree on your smartphone screen that can only change if you lower your stress-levels. As you become more relaxed, the music progresses and the scenery becomes animated as the ice melts away to reveal green grass and leaves sprouting on the tree.

A small PIP icon appears at the bottom of the smartphone’s screen throughout the game play and fluctuates from red-yellow-green depending on your stress level – with green representing the lowest stress threshold.

‘Loom is more of a mindfulness exercise and it helps you focus on breathing, or helps you find out what allows you to relax most,’ Clarke said.

The-PIP -
The PIP Biosensor in arctic white

After each game a scorecard appears that features a breakdown of stress events, steady events and relax events by percentage. You can track your progress as each score is collected and stored in line and bar graphs showing your highest and lowest game score progression.

With new technology like PIP, stress management has become well… less stressful and more fun. You can try your hand (or more your fingertips) at PIP while it is on display at the AXA PPP Health Teach & You showcase in London’s Design Museum until 26 April.

The PIP Biosensor can be purchased for €179 and comes in two colours: artic white and onyx black.



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