A group of researchers called Team Turquoise are developing a wearable band that they say can alter the user’s mood. Dubbed ‘Doppel’, the wristwatch-like device they have created issues rhythmic vibrations to the wrist that can relax or excite the user depending on how they compare to her heart rate.
The wristband uses biometric cardiac data gathered via a paired smartphone, and adjusts its rhythms based on the user’s heartbeat, with the user able to set preferences via interaction with its face and bezel. The system relies on a psycho-physiological process similar to that produced by listening to up- or downbeat music, which can invigorate or relax listeners depending on its BPM and other factors; and the researchers say that so far testing has proven the device effective. They have reportedly tested it on hundreds of subjects, and it has also been tested independently by Royal Holloway, University of London psychologists. Team Turquoise hasn’t yet released official results of these trials, but they plan to commission for further independent tests and are confident in their device’s efficacy.
The technology has a range of potentially applications, perhaps most notably in therapeutic endeavours. But the catch is that it takes up valuable real estate on the user’s wrist, where a watch or a fitness-tracking band would usually go. That could pose a particular problem if smartwatches enjoy mass consumer adoption. On the other hand, the same technology could theoretically be implemented on a smartwatch, especially given the biometric and haptic feedback capabilities of the Apple Watch. While Team Turquoise’s hardware is undoubtedly impressive, they may also want to consider app development going forward.