In our hectic modern lives, it can be very easy to get caught up in all of the pressure to perform, to do more, to have more, to work harder, to say yes more often. And one common side effect of committing to 'do it all' in our fast-paced, overly-scheduled hectic modern lifestyle is stress.
Stress isn't healthy, and it isn't fun, and while sloughing off some of that tension through physical activity will help us to feel better in the short-term, learning to get control over our own reactions to the stress in our daily lives may ultimately be the most effective remedy.
And that's where the PIP comes in. PIP, or the Personal Input Pod, is a small wireless biosensor that gives users feedback on their stress level, and helps them learn to relax through a suite of games and apps, which can not only help to reduce stress, but can also help improve personal performance in many other aspects of life.
When held between finger and thumb, this little sensor measures the conductivity of the skin (the Galvanic Skin Response, or GSR), which changes based on the body's stress level, and sends the data via Bluetooth to a smartphone. While just looking at the data may help users to determine when they're stressed out, the PIP takes it a step further by adding in a biofeedback loop to help users learn to control their response through gaming.
"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." - PIP
The PIP, from Galvanic, is in a crowdfunding stage to take it to mass production level through Kickstarter, with an expected ship date sometime in the first part of 2014. If you'd like to get a leg up on your stress management skills, consider kicking in to the campaign and getting one of the first PIPs to hit the market (at the $79 level).