Haptic technology is all the rage. Tactile feedback, that makes use of the sense of touch to provide kinesthtic stimuli for various purposes has been used for decades now. It is described as “doing for the sense of touch what computer graphics does for vision”. The technology has been used to create touch responsive surfaces and remote controls etc.
The technology works similarly the other way around. Haptic feedback is received from a video game when your sports car hits a pole and the controller vibrates.
Since its inceptions, it has found many uses in electronics, medicine and design. The latest label it has come to enjoy is the Psychophysiology, with a new Wearable gadget called Doppel. This wrist-worn gadget is the latest invention of Team Turquoise (Jack Hooper, Dr Fotini Markopoulou, Andreas Bilicki and Nell Bennett), that used tactile feedback to enhance mood.
The team includes a mechanical engineer, a theoretical physicist, a materials scientist and an industrial designer, who have graduated from Imperial College London, and began on workable while they were students. After developing a prototype through grant funding from Innovate UK, a Horizon 2020 accelerator called FI-C3 and the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprise, they have come to Kickstarter for crowdfunding the production of their product.
The idea is fairly unique, but simplistic to the core. Just like different types of music influences mood, owing to its vibe and rhythm, tactile stimuli of varying rhythm is equally capable of changing heart rate, body temperature and other factors to improve mood – and you can choose what mood you want to get into.
“Doppel harnesses your body’s natural response to rhythm similarly to upbeat or downbeat music, but it’s a pulse you feel on your wrist rather than one you hear. It can be used to keep you going through a really long meeting, help you stay calm during a presentation or wind down at the end of the day. It gives people more control over how they feel,” explains Jack, co-founder of Doppel.
Doppel taps the wearer’s wrist at a customized pace. An accompanying app lets the user configure the device, first with resting heart rate, which further determines the required haptic stimulus for different moods. Direction is simple – press for a stronger beat to get you going, turn the dial to intensify the beat, or stroke the face to ease and relax.
The question to the authenticity of Doppel’s functionality remains. Hooper is quick to answer, “Our step was to use a tactile rhythm, rather than an audio or visual one. We have successfully tested it with hundreds of people both in controlled tests and in real world scenarios for improving focus and alertness, staying calm when nervous, for cadence while running and to wind down before going to sleep,” he says.
“We also commissioned independent academic tests of doppel’s affect of on alertness and focus. These placebo controlled trials used the objective measurement of reaction time to test the effect. At the right settings doppel was shown to increase alertness and focus, and also to sustain performance levels compared to the control condition.”
Their Kickstarter campaign aims to raise £100,000, with Doppel available to early birds for £70 by April 2016. They have raised 20% of their goal in 2 days, offering multiple color and band options, as well as backing offers to the early supporters – let’s see how this new tends to technology fare. What do you think of this amazing gadget? Do let us know in the comments section below.