Does your back hurt from slouching over your keyboard all day? Having trouble focusing after lunchtime? Do you remember that great idea you had the other day? Whatever's holding you back from doing your best work, there’s probably a wearable claiming to solve the problem.
Wearables targeting health and wellness still fall into a regulatory gray area, but that hasn’t slowed down the release of innovative products. Here are five gadgets that can help you improve your productivity by calming you down, augmenting your memory and even reminding you to breathe.
Attach this device to your temple and vibe out. Thync’s Vibe delivers electrical impulses to the nervous system that can either calm or energize the user. The effect of a Vibe can begin in as little as 5 minutes of using the device with impact lasting up to several hours, according to Thync. The company sells Thync System starter kits for $300.
A Wall Street Journal writer who sampled the technology noted that the Vibe works differently for different people.
“No question, it’s for the intrepid. When I used it wrong at first, it felt a bit like the brain freeze you get from inhaling a Slurpee. Thync says it’s effective on 80% of people—for some, it just doesn’t work. A colleague who tried Thync three times said it felt like tiny ants biting him, and I’d have to pay him to use it regularly,” wrote Geoffery Fowler in a review.
Fowler wrote that having undergone a dozen or so sessions with the device, he’d consider keeping one around.
Breathe. That's what Spire inventor Neema Moraveji wants you to do. The device differs from other fitness trackers in that it doesn’t just measure how active you are. It measures how tense you are by tracking your breathing patterns throughout the day.
When you’re worked up, the $150 clip-on lets you know with a phone notification sent from the device via Bluetooth.
“People only move about 15% of their day. How do you build a wearable that creates value for you your entire day?” Moraveji told TechCrunch.
Spire claims to eliminate over 1 million moments of tension each week and markets. The company says customers report greater productivity and calmness and reductions in fatigue and headaches.
For the slouchers out there, there's Lumo Bodytech’s flagship product, the ovular Lumo Lift. The Lift is worn by attaching the device to your shirt below your collarbone. Listed in Time magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2014, the Lift packages start at $80.
Lumo CEO and co-founder Monisha Perkash told Time that people “simply forget” to stop slouching. That’s where the Lift comes in. The Lift tracks posture by measuring angle displacement and vibrates if you need to straighten up.
Time noted in the 2014 blurb that the product would buzz if the user intentionally leaned over. Those who are looking to improve their posture but have wearied of wearables can try the $150 Darma seat rest, which monitors sitting behavior.
For those with a tendency to think out loud and then forget what they said, this bracelet could be a good substitute for the longterm memory you wish you had. With two taps, the Kapture device will send the last minute of audio as a recording to your smartphone via Bluetooth.
That’s right, it records retroactively, so you don’t have to decide ahead of time whether you want to record a bit of conversation. That’s not to say a little mindfulness doesn’t help maximize the utility of the device, which is available for pre-order and retails at $150.
"There's a mindfulness aspect," Kapture co-creator Matthew Dooley told Mashable. "You have to be listening to what I'm saying to want to record it. We're nudging you towards listening.”
Apple thinks people want to be able to enjoy the functions of their phones without holding them in their hands. Moto Hint starts with much the same idea, only instead of wearing it on your wrist, you stick it in your ear. It's a Bluetooth headset (or “wireless earbud,” as the folks over at Motorola apparently prefer to say) that lets you access your phone by voice control.
The Hint is about more than phone calls. You can use it to send a text, Google facts or look up directions, among other uses, without having to touch your phone. Good for the peripatetic types.
The Verge called the Moto Hint “the future of the Bluetooth headset” when the product came out a year ago at $150. The device now retails at about half its original cost, going for $80 on the Motorola website.