Wristband Monitors Anxiety Level, Displays Alerts


There are now more than 13,000 mobile health apps available for consumers and another 3,000 designed for medial health professionals. Relatively few, however, are designed for mental health issues.

A Boston-area company, Neumitra, has created a wrist-worn sensor that can detect elevated perspiration and temperature associated with stress and relay messages to the user.

The device, called a bandu, resembles a plastic wristwatch and collects data that can be fed into an algorithm that is designed to learn what triggers anxiety in an individual.

As first reported in the MIT Technology Review, the device can signal the onset of anxiety attacks to an individual, with the goal of heading off destructive behavior such as violent outbursts or drug abuse.

The device has a display that can be set to provide alerts, such as a suggestion to take medication or call a loved one.

According to Robert Goldberg, a neuroscientist and founder of Neumitra, the company’s goal is to “bring portable mobile technology to brain health.” He notes that one in three adults in the US has a form of a mental disorder and that more soldiers die of suicide than in battle.

Neumitra is one of the companies chosen for the 2012 Rock Health startup accelerator and has received seed funding from Ash Patel’s Morado Ventures.

The device is being tested at Massachusetts General Hospital with patients who are suffering from PTSD and other anxiety disorders. According to Darin Dougherty, a MGH research director, “Previously, (clinicians) had to rely on the patient’s subjective memory for the weeks between appointments as their sole measure of anxiety symptoms. The device provides moment-to-moment objective data regarding a patient’s anxiety symptoms” and both the patient and doctor can see it.

Researchers are still working out the exact relationship between bodily changes and stressful events. For example, the program must filter out noise, such as perspiration from exercise or from watching a favorite sports team.

This article was contributed by James Harris, president of WestsidePR.com, a healthcare technology marketing agency.

↑ Back to top

Founding Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors