5 Brain-Shifting Gadgets That Help Reduce Stress


What guy doesn’t wish he had the Vulcan-like ability to just, well, not experience stress at all? Bills, jobs, smartphones, holidays and about a hundred other things guys deal with on the daily can all add up to one hell of a headache. Thankfully, science has recently taken steps toward solving that for us. Meet the next generation of wearables that not only track stress, they literally change the way you think to decrease pressure and boost your productivity at work and at home.


The Spire wearable targets stress by helping you learn to breathe. It clips onto the inside of your clothing to measure your breathing patterns to assess your stress levels, then gives you a smartphone notification suggesting a simple way to calm down, be it a short walk or breathing exercises. Other measurements it takes include your body position, movement and physical activity to get the whole picture about your life—and so it doesn’t mistake a sprint workout for excess mental pressure.


The PIP biosensor gamifies stress reduction techniques to help you balance out your mind. Holding the small device that you hold between your fingertips, it monitors your stress levels in real time as you play the games included with its app—the more relaxed you are, the better you perform. In addition to calming you down at the moment, these games also help identify what relaxes you the most, helping you deal with your personal stress more effectively over time.


In conjunction to monitoring your stress levels throughout the day, the Olive bracelet also tracks everything that goes on in the background—your location, the time of day, your calendar, the temperature and even your physical activity levels—to help determine how they contribute to your state of mind. It gives you small nudges using haptic feedback (that is, it taps your wrist) to tell you when you’re getting overloaded. That’s your cue to engage in meditation or breathing exercises to bring you back down. This crowdfunded gadget has almost doubled its crowdfunding goals as of press time, and should be coming before the holidays next year.


Muse Headband
Muse is one of the first mainstream gadgets to try to change how you think. The headband detects your brain signals as you use its app, which puts you through a series of guided focus exercises. The fluctuations in your brainwaves are then used to give you feedback so you can train your brain to respond to stress better. Over time, the benefits include better focus, heightened mood and increased self-control. 

The future: Thync Headset

Rather than using exercises or games to change your state of mind, Thync does it for you. Or might. It’s still in its developmental stages (hence the lack of an image), but the device is expected to let you select a “vibe” that stimulates specific neural pathways in your brain—the same ones that, say, alcohol or caffeine target—to provide a boost of energy, a wave of calm, or an increase in focus on demand. The brain enhancer will be worn on the head like a headband and uses a type of electrical stimulation to stimulate the effect. Similar tech has already been used to help sufferers of depression and other types of mental distress.
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