A lot of the gadgets that help people monitor and track their physical health focus on providing feedback related to physical activity for use with tracking workout data and energy expenditure during the day. Now, a new Kickstarter projected called the W/Me band wants to leverage similar data sources, but with the goal of providing a more holistic picture of wellness.
The W/Me wristband is based around a sensor that monitors your body’s automatic nervous system, providing feedback on body activity that you may not be at all aware of, including breathing patterns and heart rate, to let you know about automatic reactions you may be having that are detrimental to your state of health or physical wellbeing. Then, with rhythmic breathing exercises, the idea is that you’ll be able to correct these negative patterns and improve your general health and mood for the better.
The W/Me project is different from most activity tracking in that it takes a very specific goal of managing breathing and describing a user’s mental state. It provides readings for agility score and ANS (autonomic nervous system) age in addition to a general description of your mental state, which provides information that tells you both how good you might be at dealing with stress, and how old your nervous system is, independent of your actual biological age.
The wristband will have Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, as well as an LED readout that can provide information independent from an attached smartphone. It advertises a full week’s worth of use on a full battery charge, and also has a built-in USB connector for charging. It uses a built-in heart rate variability sensor, combined with the company’s own algorithms to arrive at its various readings, which can be displayed either on the band itself or on a companion app.
Whether or not you believe in the science behind this, this is a clear growth market for quantified-self devices. There’s plenty of opportunity to explore the intersection of these devices and alternative theories of medicine and wellness, so it’ll be interesting to see if these kinds of gadgets can help bring health- and self-monitoring tech into the mainstream.