PIP Is A Bluetooth Biosensor That Aims To Use Your Phone To Gamify Beating Stress

Irish startup Galvanic has just launched a Kickstarter to crowdsource funding a wireless stress biosensor it’s calling PIP. PIP — which stands for ‘personal input pod’ — is a Bluetooth biosensor that monitors its user’s stress levels by measuring their galvanic skin response (GSR) as they hold the PIP pinched between thumb and forefinger. GSR means skin conductance — so basically how sweaty you’re getting and therefore how nervous you’re feeling.

PIP isn’t just a quantifiable self-tapping biosensor; it’s been designed to work in conjunction with iOS and Android phone and tablet apps to provide a gamification element. The company has created three games designed to be played using the PIP, which utilises Bluetooth as its data transport tech. The user’s stress level is then incorporated into each game as the core gameplay mechanic — with the ultimate aim being to help the player learn what they need to do to relax.

It sounds a bit counterintuitive, since competitive gaming can be synonymous with sweaty palms, which is presumably why Galvanic’s project extends to designing stress-busting games. It’s created three games to be used in conjunction with the PIP — a relaxing racing game, a seasonal mood game where  players meditate on a wintery scene to turn it into spring, and a more playful lie-detector multi-player game — but it does also plan to launch an SDK in future to get third party developers expanding the PIP’s gaming ecosystem.

With this initial handful of in-house games the PIP can only be so interesting, but if Galvanic can convince enough people to buy in to the gadget and thus lure enough outside developers to join in, there’s plenty of potential for other cool biosensing software ideas. The price per PIP is $79 for a limited number of early bird Kickstarter backers, or $99 thereafter. Presumably each new PIP-compatible game may also carry a consumer price-tag.

Galvanic is gunning for $100,000 in Kickstarter funding, with the money to be used for finalising manufacturing and readying its own apps. Assuming it hits this rather ambitious funding goal, the company reckons it can gear up for mass production by the end of 2013, and expects to be shipping in Q1 2014. In future it said it plans to expand platform support beyond Android and iOS, to add Windows Phone, Blackberry, Windows, MacOS and also game Consoles and set-top boxes.