Listen to your heart to learn how to detect and control natural stress levels

lief biofeedback stress control hrv reading
If you don’t have the time and money to travel to the Himalayas so you can train with monks to control your breathing and heart rate, here’s a wearable device that promises to teach the same skills. The Lief Smart Patch works with a smartphone app to measure heart rate variability (HRV), an indicator of the onset or presence of stress.

According to Lief Therapeutics, HRV is a biomarker for both physical and psychological health. A low HRV score indicates anxiety, distraction, and poor performance while a high HRV indicates a calm, focused state. The Lief Smart Patch, which adheres to your chest with replaceable adhesive stickers, is placed just under your left breast, where it measures heart rate, heart rate variability, and breathing. The patch is 6mm thin (just under a quarter-inch) and can be worn all day under your clothing. When the device senses a preset target heartbeat variability level, it vibrates silently as an alert for you to begin using the exercises you’ve learned to control your stress.

Four 3-minute biofeedback training tools can help you learn to calm yourself when you are alerted to imminent stress response. The exercises teach deep breathing, relaxation, and conscious control of your heart rate.

The Lief Smart Patch is made of medical-grade hypoallergenic silicon, and has two ECG sensors and two haptic “engines” that vibrate to let you know when stress is coming on. A micro USB charging port is used for a one-hour charge that lasts for up to a week’s use. The skin patch can hold a week’s worth of data and syncs with a smartphone via Bluetooth. According to the Lief’s founders, their device is 250 times more accurate than wristband heart rate monitors.

The Lief Smart Kit is currently in a Kickstarter campaign, with a $50,000 goal to fund production tooling to produce the devices in quantity. With 39 days left, the campaign had $46,873 in pledges from 237 backers at the time of this article. The list price will be $299 upon the launch of the Lief Smart Patch, which is scheduled for June 2017.  There are still $179 Early Bird opportunities.

A key to managing stress is detecting it early, before it gets out of control. The promise of the Lief Smart Patch is that it can provide alerts so you can take action to prevent stress from increasing.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Pulse ox and body battery make Garmin’s Vivosmart fitness tracker stand out

The market for fitness trackers is still alive and kicking thanks to companies like Garmin that are willing to try something new. A new style, metrics, and sensors help to set the Vivosmart 4 apart from the competition.
Smart Home

The best treadmills of 2018

The exercise of running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles at the same time.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track.
Home Theater

Demystify home audio with our ultimate A/V receiver buying guide

Today's A/V receivers are packed with lots of advanced technology and just plain cool features. From understanding watt ratings to Wi-Fi, we explain how to buy one that will last you for years in our ultimate A/V receiver buying guide.
Emerging Tech

Forget laxatives — this electronic pill will literally shake the crap out of you

Are you suffering from constipation? What you really need is a vibrating smart pill that promises to shake the crap out of you. And we mean that completely literally. Here's how it works.

The best sound machines to help you fall (and stay) asleep

Whether you find that sleep better with white noise, rain sounds, or deep sleep music, there’s a sound machine on the market that will be able to help you catch more z’s in no time at all.
Product Review

The Huawei Watch GT’s battery life gets a tick, but the software may not tock

Huawei’s track record with smartwatches is strong, having releases two models and several spin-offs to general acclaim. This is the Watch GT, and it moves away from Google’s Wear OS to focus on fitness, yet stays ahead of the…

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.

The Wau stands out in the crowded ebike market with its 60-mile range

The Wau ebike is a high-tech commuter that offers onboard GPS tracking, geofenced alarm systems, built-in front and rear lights, and pedal-assist speeds of up to 20 mph, with a range of as much as 60 miles between charges.
Emerging Tech

With VR dinosaurs and ‘Minecraft,’ one hospital is making medicine less scary

From augmented reality rabbits on the wards to a Minecraft recreation of the hospital for kids to explore, one of the world's most renowned children's hospitals just got a major tech overhaul.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Emerging Tech

Johns Hopkins’ lab-grown human retina could lead to big insights

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have successfully grown human retina tissue from scratch in a lab. The work could help with the development of new therapeutics related to eye diseases.

Keep your noggin protected in style with this 3D-printed bike helmet

Kupol is the bike helmet that uses 3D printing to improve the design, making it safer, more comfortable, and better ventilated than traditional cycling helmets while remaining lightweight and attractive at the same time.
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high tech and under budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…