View Full Version : A device that fidgets on your behalf!


pedalpounder
08-31-16, 02:59 PM
Interesting article. Though it doesn't mention ADHD, I postulate that the mechanism by which this works (if it's not in fact snake oil) is the same as the dopamine++ you get by fidgeting.

Thoughts?

<small class="article-meta"><time class="ng-binding" itemprop="datePublished" content="2016-08-31T09:55:00-04:00"></time></small>Jack Hooper, the founder of a startup called Doppel, has just given me a plastic wristband that promises to make me more awake and focused.
<li class="google expandable"> I’ve come to his shared- office space in the heart of London’s old textile district with a cup of decaffeinated coffee in my hand, primed for something to do the job that caffeine normally does.
The band looks a little like a normal wristwatch, with a large disc that rests on the inside of my wrist. Hooper taps the disc and it starts pulsing at about 170 beats per minute. Before this, he’s taken my resting heart rate with an optical monitor, finding it to be about 65 BPM.
The rhythm I’m feeling on my wrist is pretty much what my heart rate would go up to if I was in the middle of a workout at the gym. Of course, that’s not what happening; I’m sitting in a chair and wearing a device that wants to trick my mind into thinking that my heart is, in fact, racing.
“How people feel is subjective,” he says.
Doppel has tested the band on 400 people and found that across the board when they take tests that measure their reaction times, they make fewer mistakes when wearing it.
People are interested in using it to help them perk up in the morning, he adds, or “keep going and stay focused after lunch, and to go running, to set cadence. It’s like having music on. When you’re in time with it… when you go off, you feel it.”

It turns out I’m feeling something too. I’m bopping my head unconsciously to the beat of the Doppel as if I were listening to high-energy, electronic music. As Hooper is talking, I also find myself becoming hyper aware of what he’s saying, with a kind of laser focus.
After a few more minutes, I take off the band. The effect is even more noticeable once it’s gone. I’m feeling a little on-edge, ready to pounce on whatever task needs taking care of next. It’s very similar to the caffeine jolt I get after a big cup of strong coffee. Which is all the more surprising because I haven’t consumed any caffeine so far that day.

What’s happening is a psychological feedback loop between my body and my brain. “You have a beat that feels like a heart beat on your wrist, where you expect to feel your pulse,” says Hooper. Hooper’s co-founder Fontini Markopoulou points to a study showing that listening to a heartbeat rhythm over headphones can affect a person’s natural heart rate, as well as their emotional reaction to certain images.
His team originally tried to make a device that could go on other parts of the body, like the chest, neck and ear, but nothing seemed to work as well as the wrist. “What we think is going on is, you’re perceiving it and, to a degree you’re thinking, ‘Oh, my pulse is up. I must be stimulated.’ Or, ‘It’s low, and I must be calm.’”
Hooper and his co-founders don’t know why the Doppel works. There are all kinds of possible explanations, including a phenomenon called entrainment. This is where a person’s automatic functions like breathing, walking or heart rate can change to synch up with something else. When two people walk together, for instance, their walking pace can sometimes match up, unconsciously.
“Biologists would say this is down to hormones,” says Hooper. “Psychologists would say it’s down to perception. Physicists would point to metronomes that entrain with each other.”
Doppel is part of a small but growing wave of wearable devices that don’t seek to passively track the physiology of a wearer, as the Fitbit does but change it. Hooper thinks that in that sense, it has more in common with Facebook and Twitter, whose infinite scroll plays on our reward mechanism and offers our brains a jolt of dopamine that, for some people, can become addictive.
Perhaps more similar to Doppel is Thync, a startup in Los Gatos, California that makes a mood-altering headset. Thync pulses electrical currents into the nerves of your face and neck, to make you feel either calm or energetic. “It’s a more invasive method,” says Hooper.
Doppel might get a better reception in the U.S. than Europe, which is a little more wary of technology that is, in any way, invasive. “There’s a more open attitude in the U.S. to technology helping us be better… Fitbit was only ever going to come from the States.”
Doppel raised just over 110,000 last year on Kickstarter, and another 50,000 from the 1851 fellowship program with the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering, which includes a year of mentorship. The founders are now on the hunt for more venture capital funding. The startup has sold 1,000 devices so far, mostly on Kickstarter, and is planning a full launch in North America and Europe in the autumn, when it will sell the device for $150.

Though the wearable device market is projected to be worth $25 billion by 2019, there’s still much skepticism around how accurate and truly effective gadgets like the Fitbit, Apple Watch, and Jawbone Up are. The American Medical Association warned in June 2016 that health-tracking apps and wearables of mixed quality were the “digital snake oil of the 21st Century.”
Doppel thus, rightfully, needs to run more independent tests to show that people like me who’ve used the device, aren’t simply benefiting from a $150-placebo effect. “We’d love to do trials on anxiety,” says Hooper. “We had a few people that trialled it and it helped them fall asleep.”
Later this year Doppel will run a trial, sponsored by Disney, to see if the device can help children fall asleep too. If that has promising results, the startup might run trials on its effectiveness in children with ADHD. “We don’t want to give people false hope, and definitely don’t want to start saying things we don’t know for sure,” Hooper says.
His co-founders are theoretical physicist Fontini Markopoulou, along with Andreas Bilicki and Nell Bennett, all graduates of the Royal College of Art and Imperial College in London. They met on a combined course and became interested in technology that was based on psychophysiology, or the study of how changes in the body affect the mind.
“You’re in a dark place and you hear a loud noise and your heart starts to pound,” Hooper posits. “Do you become scared because of your heart racing, or does your heart rate go up because you’re scared? I think it’s both. It’s a feedback loop.”
The Doppel doesn’t try to slow down or speed up your actual heart rate; it simply wants to alter the way you feel, he adds. “We’re quite skeptical and didn’t expect it to work,” says Hooper, adding that his startup is “a weird bunch. If it came back from the independent tests and didn’t work, we’d have a serious chat about stopping. We don’t want to sell a placebo.”
The tests so far suggest they are certainly on to something.



I might actually want one of those, and I'm fairly confident that it would work.

pedalpounder
08-31-16, 03:00 PM
oh wait, they DO mention ADHD in the article. How very ADHD of me for not reading the whole thing lol

C15H25N3O
09-18-16, 02:46 PM
Back in the days when I used a walkman outdoors and vinyl records indoors to listen to music.
I could not afford one of the first mobile phones that were really huge and heavy.

I had over 50 phone number in my brains memory. Meeting new people did not mean to
friend them on facebook but getting their telephone number in seconds into my memory.

Nowadays it is up to devices and I recognize a decrease of memory due to a lack of exercise
memorizing. When I forgot my iPhone at home I become nervous like an addict but I should
enjoy a day off sensory overload.

When the first smart watches were introduced my first thought was: WTF, that is technology
that is know as an ankle monitor for prisoners on probation.

An increase of technology means a decrease of freedom.

acdc01
09-22-16, 01:57 PM
Sounds promising. I too missed the mention of adhd in the article lol.

I wish they'd sell it for less money though. $150 sounds enormous for something that just vibrates. Guess it's still less money than my coke every morning and healthier too. Although I have this fear of electronic devices causing cancer if they are pressed too long in one place. I think it's a fear not supported by fact though.

acdc01
09-22-16, 03:25 PM
Back in the days when I used a walkman outdoors and vinyl records indoors to listen to music.
I could not afford one of the first mobile phones that were really huge and heavy.

I had over 50 phone number in my brains memory. Meeting new people did not mean to
friend them on facebook but getting their telephone number in seconds into my memory.

Nowadays it is up to devices and I recognize a decrease of memory due to a lack of exercise
memorizing. When I forgot my iPhone at home I become nervous like an addict but I should
enjoy a day off sensory overload.

When the first smart watches were introduced my first thought was: WTF, that is technology
that is know as an ankle monitor for prisoners on probation.

An increase of technology means a decrease of freedom.

By "freedom" do you just mean free to have "privacy"? Cause I agree there is definitely a loss in that but I don't feel a loss in terms of what I have the freedom to do.

Privacy is overrated to me anyway. So what if Google knows everything about me.

I like technology in that it's making us ADHDers more like NTs and NTs more like ADHDers. So we're better off with it in that respect. I think technology makes us use our minds less in some ways (like memorizing phone numbers). But it opens our minds in other ways. I didn't know a fraction of the things I know now because of the wealth of knowledge available on the internet. And kids these days seem to learn so fast and more than I ever did when I was young.

The biggest downside to technology to me is that it's eating up our natural resources and polluting our environment. I also worry that the wifi and other hidden impacts of technology are causing cancer. Hopefully we can come up with a technology though that saves our dying world and selves from all the damage we've done.