Welcome to Alec’s Tech Corner
From smart-watches to yoga mats, fitness technology is constantly evolving. It seems like every day another “revolutionary” piece of technology makes its way to the health and wellness market, promising an innovative and life-altering method for staying on top of your personal health.
But how much of this noise actually means anything? As revolutionary as these products may be, it’s hard to determine what will even come to market, how it will affect the health and wellness industry, and if the new tech is based on factual data or just smoke and mirrors.
That’s why I’m here. Each week, the Tech Corner takes a handful of up-and-coming pieces of tech aimed at the fitness industry, and gives them a thorough run through to evaluate:
- Cost effectiveness
- Affected markets
- Go-to-Market Feasibility
These are only some of the staple characteristics being tracked down in the Tech corner. Don’t worry, you’ll still get a hefty side-order of “snarky college student” comments with a dash of realistic pessimism. In all reality, this blog is aimed at tracking down the upcoming health tech, and separating the real deal from the real expensive.
To start off the Tech Corner with a bang, I have a few Kickstarter pages packed with some innovative stress management, attention-shifting, and grass-roots fitness tech.
Buzzies – Wearable Stress Management
The first of the grab-bag are the Buzzies Stress Management Wristbands by Touchpoint Solutions.
Fresh to the market, a pair of Buzzies carry a $259 price tag, including the app used to control the device(s). Gracing the presence of Kickstarter for less than a month (21 Days), TouchPoint’s smart-bands more than quintupled their $15k funding goal reaching $76,138! The hype is there, but what about the science? To any uninformed onlooker, their Bi-Lateral Alternating Stimulation – Tactile (BLAST) technology seem like nothing more than a couple wristbands with cell-phone like vibrations. In other words, useless and annoying. I mean after all, who would want to wear two matching, faceless smart watches with everything but the vibrations stripped away?
In reality, this fashion crime yields some surprising results. While stress is the flagship evil of their campaign, studies have shown TouchPoint’s devices to relieve all kinds of unwanted brain activity. While beta brainwaves are a requirement for consciousness, logic, and other day-to-day activity, too much excess beta activity translates into heightened anxiety, stress, and restlessness. As shown in the brain scan below, Buzzies significantly reduced the amount of excess beta activity in this 38 year old male CEO’s brain. With multiple presets for the devices, Buzzies claim to aid those who struggle with sleep, focus, cravings, and even addiction!
To the average afternoon overthinker, matching/vibrating wristbands may seem like a little much for an everyday accessory. But realistically these are only meant to be worn a few times per day, for 2-10 minutes, on either your wrists, ankles, or pockets. For those who spend thousands on therapy, medication, and doctor visits, Buzzies could be a savior for the brain and the wallet.
Cost Effectiveness ($259): 3/5
Let’s keep one thing straight: While Buzzies have shown effective results in their studies, the price tag is still a little bit unrealistic. For a pair of nylon straps, plastic housings, vibration motors and a Bluetooth module, $259 seems a little high for a couple of dumbed-down smartwatches (from a production standpoint, not bashing the research and implementation of the technology).
Effected Markets: 4/5
Personal medical technology is becoming a more prevalent market, and with the right contributors could out-pace and out-fund endless profits of big pharma. 18% of the US population (as of 2016) are affected by anxiety disorders, but only about one third of those effected are receiving treatment. An on-the-go treatment for anxiety without the pharmaceutical side effects could see major support in the market.
Given its proven track record, the Buzzies system could be the next big step in stress and anxiety management. If the claims of ADHD and addiction management hold the same merit, then this could be the next big step in de-medicating the youth of the US.
Bottom Line: In a nation over-filled with prescriptions for dangerous anxiety medications, this non-invasive shot at cooling off the end user is definitely worth checking out.