Australia’s Medibio has unveiled a new mobile app that was designed to help people manage stress. The app has been dubbed Luca, and it tracks sleep, heart rate, and activity to generate a daily stress score and help people identify the things that trigger a negative stressful reaction.
In that regard, Luca also takes user feedback into account. The app asks users to take regular assessment tests, which are essentially brief surveys that ask them to describe how they are feeling about certain events in their lives. Correlating those responses with the biometric heart rate and sleep data helps the app pinpoints the stressors that are actually causing problems.
That self-reported data is important because different people can have different responses to the same kind of event. What causes stress for one person may be welcome to another, and Medibio needed to account for those subjective experiences while creating Luca.
However, Luca assumes that there are more objective indicators of stress’ physiological impact of the human body, which is where the biometric sensors come into play. Most notably, Medibio argues that a poor sleep score corresponds to a higher level of stress, while strong cardiac and activity scores are markers of a healthier lifestyle, insofar as people who get regular exercise ad physical activity are less likely to be stressed. Those who are sedentary, on the other hand, may have a harder time achieving that same balance.
Medibio is hoping that people will be able to use Luca to identify and change the aspects of their lifestyle that cause them the most stress. The company will continue to refine the app after its launch to give people an even deeper understanding of their mental health.
Luca itself will debut on October 1, and will be available for $8 a month, or $46 for a full-year subscription. It is compatible with smartphones and wearable devices, though at the moment the platform only offers support for Garmin Smartwatches, Apple Watches, and the iPhone. The Garmins require Android version 8.0, while iPhones require iOS 13 and the Apple Watches must be Series 3 or better with WatchOS 5.1.2.
The Medibio assessments are designed to be as fast and intuitive as possible to minimize the amount of time that people need to spend on journaling. Luca, meanwhile, will generate an overall stress score on a daily basis.
Of course, Medibio is not the first company to try to measure stress with mobile devices. The US Army is using the WHOOP Strap 3.0 to study stress in an arctic environment, while FitBit started analyzing heart rate and sleep to generate a Stress Management Score back in 2020.