Behaviour-training wearables March 08 2016, 0 Comments

From calling and sending text messages, smartphones have come a long way to playing a major role in our everyday lives. It’s no surprise, therefore, that people are more concerned with features other than calling and texting when selecting a smartphone to purchase.

Samsung have especially been at the forefront of creating feature-rich smartphones, with heartrate sensors and a pedometer which make the Samsung an exercise companion. Varied uses of smartphones are further extended with wearable devices that keep track of our daily activities. Now, we’re using these wearables to alter our own behaviour!

Incredible, I know, but some of these systems are becoming more prevalent in the society today than you might think. Here are just some that are already in the market and you can get right now:

ALEX: Wearable Posture Tracker and Coach

As our societies gradually shift to more computer-based work, cases of back and neck pain are on the rise. We’re spending a lot more time hunched over a computer from morning to evening, and this exerts incredible strain on our backs and neck. The solution to this, so far, has been to practice safe posture and take breaks: the latter is sometimes impossible if you’ve got a lot of work to do.

As for the posture, it can be difficult to keep track of your body as you work, which is why you need a reminder every now and then. That’s where ALEX comes in. ALEX is a wearable device you wear around your ears and it drops down to the back of your neck. It then uses a set of gyroscopes to determine your body posture, and then it sends notifications through your device if the posture isn’t good.

With such a wearable device, you will be reminded to sit upright every time you aren’t, and the idea is that, after some time, you will adapt the correct posture. The advantage with ALEX is its size, first of all, being very small, and its compatibility with all Android devices as long as you have the app installed.

Pavlok

This is a much more inclusive device that is supposed to prevent a wide range of bad habits including smoking, nail-biting, unhealthy eating and even overspending. Pavlok is a wearable device that resembles a smartwatch except it doesn’t do anything a smartwatch does. It works by producing electrical shocks to your arm when you do a certain action either automatically and manually.

Its purpose has a lot more to do with the psyche than the pain itself. It replaces the positive feedback you get from a certain activity with the pain of an electric shock. The idea being that if you feel pain every time you, say, smoke, it will gradually make you averse to that activity. The device is still in development but is already in the market because of the positive responses so far.

What’s the future of these devices?

These are definitely more complicated than normal smartwatches because they aren’t just technical but psychological as well. Even so, it’s definitely a very useful application of technology and we’re bound to see more of it in the future.