About this project
What if you could not only measure your stress but learn to control it?
The PIP is a revolutionary biosensor that helps you really learn to relax, improve your performance in any aspect of your life and combat stress. Available for both iOS and Android, the PIP detects whether you are stressing or relaxing in real time.
The PIP achieves this through biofeedback which is a process where the user learns to control an aspect of their physiology that they are not usually aware of. By providing continuous information on whether or not they are “doing the right thing”, the user evolves a personal strategy that produces the desired result.
We’ve made the PIP super-easy to use. Just hold it between your fingertips and it will communicate your stress level wirelessly to a game or app running on your smartphone or tablet. An ever-expanding suite of gaming and entertainment apps will be available, allowing you to visualize your relaxation and master your stress in a fun and engaging way.
In today’s fast-paced world, the PIP is designed to suit your lifestyle – highly portable, easy to use and above all, fun. The PIP is a unique product that empowers you to beat stress, when and where you want to.
What Our Community is Saying
We’ve been lucky enough to get suggestions from our backers about how they might use the PIP in new and interesting ways. We would like to share these thoughts with the whole community as well as invite people to suggest more possible uses of the PIP.
Measuring and using GSR for therapeutic purposes has been common for many years. We have had messages from psychologists and psychotherapists the world over, who see the PIP as an avenue for patients to extend therapy outside the clinical setting. We are told it could be of use in the treatment of PTSD, chronic pain, addiction and many other afflictions.
One of the early users of the PIP, Sue Saunders, told us this:
"Since researching the efficacy of the PIP and the Relax and Race games as part of my Masters programme I have been convinced of their usefulness particularly as technology becomes increasingly a part of modern life. This device uses technology to help us manage and reduce stress through biofeedback, teaching a skill that is ever more needed in today's world. Having a visual display of stress reduction enhances a person's confidence in their ability to manage their own stress, giving them an experience of self control which can will benefit them into the future. ", Sue Saunders, Human Givens Practitioner, M.Sc. M.A. HG Dip P FHGI
Dr. John Sharry, a prominent therapist, director of Solution Talk and author of numerous books and articles on parenting and counselling, had this to say:
"A subtly designed product like PIP has real potential to help people become aware of their stress levels as well as learning to alter them and relax in fun and interesting way.”
The gaming aspect of the PIP seems to be particularly attractive to parents. One early tester of the PIP had his two children play Relax & Race at bedtime. They really enjoyed playing but with the added advantage of calming their minds before sleep. In addition, some parents have suggested that their children could use the PIP to relax and focus just before a big tennis match.
There’s lots of interest from the Quantified Self community who use devices to monitor, record and analyse physiological signals to promote long term health and wellness. They have told us the PIP would be a valuable addition to their toolkit. To assist them we have recently announced that the games will include recording and analysis features so they can track their improvements. We are also creating a standalone QS app for real-time monitoring of your stress levels. The app will allow you to record and review key performance statistics and charts and will be free of charge to everyone.
How does it work?
When you are in a stressful situation your body's flight or fight response is activated. As a result, blood is rushed to the periphery of the body which causes your sweat glands to activate. This activation changes the conductivity of your skin and is referred to as the Galvanic Skin Response (GSR).
Held between your finger and thumb, the PIP captures those changes and transmits them, via Bluetooth, to your mobile device.
Algorithm for Deducing Stress
Merely measuring the GSR is not enough. We have developed our own complex GSR analysis systems to give accurate feedback for all users of the PIP regardless of skin type and environmental conditions.
The PIP has emerged from research and development in the exciting “Quantified Self” space, and empowers the user to develop relaxation skills using biofeedback. The PIP continuously monitors the electrical conductance of the user's skin in real time. Our algorithm analyzes and extracts meaningful features from this data. These features are then used to provide information to the user as to how their performance within the game is affecting change in their galvanic skin response. This offers all sorts of opportunities for people to “manage the moment” – from general well-being, to any area of life where being calm improves performance.
The PIP and Games
Any activity that requires repetition is in danger of becoming boring. That’s why the PIP puts the fun into relaxation. The feedback mechanism is provided through a game running on a smartphone or tablet. Users’ stress levels, as measured by the PIP, are used to determine their performance in the game: the more relaxed they are, the better they do. The counter-intuitive way the PIP works is a powerful learning mechanism. One of the great strengths of video games is that they allow the player to have fun, while performing the same task over and over again. By using games as the context for biofeedback, the user learns how to relax quickly, while having fun at the same time.
The PIP will work with the iPhone 4S and above, the iPad 3 and above and most Android smart devices.
Limited Edition PIPs
For Kickstarter we're offering a special choice of colors. We've included the image below for illustrative purposes to give people an idea of what these PIPs will look like.
Relax & Race
Relax & Race is the racing game where victory is achieved only by "out-relaxing" your opponent. Competitive games normally predispose the player to a state of increased tension, but in Relax & Race, you must discover how to override this tendency, and learn not only to relax, but to relax in a stressful environment.
The game takes the form of a race between two characters. Your stress level is used to determine your speed in the race: the more you relax, the faster you go. The winner is the player who manages to relax the most during the course of the game.
Relax & Race provides a fun and constructive way of learning how to manage stress – a valuable skill in today’s increasingly hectic world.
Use your powers of relaxation to turn winter into summer. As you relax, the landscape responds to reflect your inner calmness – snow and ice thaw, leaves begin to shoot and flowers bloom. The music adapts too – starting out as a single instrument, hidden layers are revealed as your stress melts away.
Relax long enough and the scene is bathed in glorious summer sunshine accompanied by a rich orchestral score. In the Loom, soothing imagery and music combine to dissolve tension, leaving you calm, relaxed and ready to tackle whatever lies ahead.
How will your friends and family react to a grilling from the Lie Detective? Less-than-truthful answers to probing questions manifest as increased stress levels. Lie detective displays this response through a classic film noir look. This application provides incredible entertainment and an extra layer of fun for your social events. Let the interrogation begin!
A successful Kickstarter campaign will help us finalise our manufacturing arrangements, get our apps ready for release and deliver the PIP to your doorstep. With the support of the Kickstarter Community, we can make stress history!
So far, we have designed and manufactured a limited number of prototype PIPs which we have used to develop, test and demonstrate our games. We have recently completed a hardware revision to update our bluetooth technology and accommodate a smaller micro USB connector for charging. We finally have all the pieces in-place to move to full scale manufacturing. We have engaged a world leading manufacturing partner capable of meeting our Kickstarter demand and far beyond.
Our plan from now is to gear up for mass production by year end 2013.
- DFM completion
- Tooling for plastics and sensors
- Packaging design and prototyping
- Production test and QA implementation
- Refinement of release titles to gold master
- Pre-production test build
- Mass production
Expected shipping: early Q1, 2014.
Our core team consists of David (CEO), Daragh (CTO) and Fiachra (Lead Developer) who between them have a wealth of experience in high-tech R&D, business and start-ups. Our team have previously spent many years working in the areas of electronics / hardware development, software / game development, biomedical engineering, signal processing and robotics.
Our extended team includes Keith as our US representative and also Paul and Scott who are helping with community management.
Galvanic is a start-up, based in Dublin, Ireland. Our mission in the Quantified Self space is to create high-tech solutions that empower the user to take control of their well-being, at home and on the go. Combining cutting edge hardware with premium entertainment software, Galvanic puts the fun into feeling better!
Risks and challenges
The Galvanic team has extensive experience in the technology and gaming sectors. We have already produced and tested a small number of working prototypes as well as three fully functioning games for your smartphone and tablet devices. We understand the inherent risks and challenges of moving to large scale production but we are committed to delivering the PIP to the market and have the knowledge and skills required to do so. With your help we can have the resources to bring the PIP into large scale production!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The PIP can be charged via a USB connection and if used continuously, the battery lasts for more than 8 hours on a single charge.
Will there be a 'Quantified Self' application to log and review the bio data/stress levels over the long-term?
Yes, we currently creating a stand alone measurement app as well as including stress recording and analysis functionality in all the games.
We hope that when we deliver the rewards to our backers we will have all the apps available on the Android and iOS app stores. We will also make sure to inform our backers early as to when exactly they will become available.
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