Seven Arizona-based software companies and six bio and life sciences startups have been named among the 25 semifinalists in the spring 2017 round of the Arizona Commerce Authority’s Arizona Innovation Challenge.
The bi-annual business plan competition for promising early-stage companies in high-growth industries will award $1.5 million this round to the most qualified, innovative startups.
Winners receive up to $250,000 each to grow their business to advance innovation and technology commercialization opportunities in the state.
“Arizona has become a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship – and programs like this help foster and retain talent right here in Arizona,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Congratulations and best of luck to the semifinalists. I can’t wait to see their final pitches, and watch them grow in Arizona.”
Almost 150 applications were received for this spring round from companies across the state and one from California looking to relocate to Arizona.
Judges assessed each company application based on a set of criteria that looked at technology potential, marketing strategy, quality of management team and economic impact.
The 25 semifinalists are (listed in alphabetical order, including industry and base city):
- Attribytes Inc., IT - Software, Chandler
- BMSeed, Bio & Life Sciences, Phoenix
- ClickIPO, IT - Software, Scottsdale
- Codelucida, IT - Hardware, Tucson
- CuraNexus, IT - Software, Phoenix
- Cut Carbon, Advanced Manufacturing, San Diego, California
- Dataware Ventures LLC, IT - Software, Tucson
- Digital Bioanalytics Inc., Bio & Life Sciences, Phoenix
- Electric Torque Machines Inc., Advanced Manufacturing, Flagstaff
- EpiSys Science Inc., Aerospace/Defense, Tucson
- Hourbands Corp., Bio & Life Sciences, Tempe
- Hydronalix, Aerospace/Defense, Green Valley
- MWI Laboratories LLC, Aerospace/Defense, Tempe
- Naya Energy, Cleantech/Renewable Energy, Phoenix
- Paradigm Diagnostics, Bio & Life Sciences, Phoenix
- PerioEndoscopy LLC, Bio & Life Sciences, Scottsdale
- Photocentric Inc., Advanced Manufacturing, Phoenix
- Prospectify Inc., IT - Software, Tempe
- Recruiting.ai, IT - Software, Scottsdale
- Resonea Inc, Bio & Life Sciences, Scottsdale
- SalesTalk Technologies LLC, IT - Software, Scottsdale
- The TouchPoint Solution, IT - Hardware, Scottsdale
- Titan Industries, Advanced Manufacturing, Tempe
- VB Cosmetics Inc., Advanced Materials, Chandler
- Zero Mass Water Inc., Cleantech/Renewable Energy, Scottsdale
Hayley Ringle covers technology and startups for the Phoenix Business Journal.
PRWeb - Touchpoint Solutions Awards Crowdfunding Campaign Winner A Meeting with the CEO as She Visits the Philippines
The Touchpoint Solution CEO Vicki Mayo will present one of the company’s first international crowdfunding campaign winners in Manila, Philippines this week. The Touchpoint Solution is the company behind Buzzies, a new wearable technology that can reduce stress and anxiety in as few as 30 seconds.
Lauriel Lambon is a teenage boy who dreams of becoming a ship captain some day. Lauriel was diagnosed with autism when he was four years old. His mother, Aileen, nominated him for assistance in raising the $239 needed to purchase a set of Buzzies. Aileen wrote about Lauriel’s passion and fascination for ships and the sea, and his ultimate dream in her crowdfunding campaign.
“For four years in a row he always had sleepless nights thus affecting all of us in the family. He becomes an over thinker about future events and his plans. He also got frustrated when he had realized that his dream of becoming a ship captain would not come into reality. He became aware of some of his academic limitations and that added to his anxiety. But he is a very sociable person. He loves to talk to people and is excited to join events where there are a lot of people,” said Aileen Lambon.
Lauriel’s campaign recently funded and Mayo decided to make the trip to personally deliver his Buzzies. Mayo will meet with Lauriel and Aileen on Wednesday, Feb. 8 in Manila.
“It is part of our mission at The Touchpoint Solution to be able to provide assistance wherever possible for people to have access to our game-changing technology,” said Mayo. “We are able to do this through our scholarship program, which has already funded more than $30,000 in Buzzies to individuals and families in need, and now through our individual crowdfunding campaigns. Our goal is to grow the company to a point where we can giveaway one set of Buzzies for every two sets we sell.”
Mayo also said that The Touchpoint Solution is actively moving into the Philippines market as the company has already received significant interest from customers in the area.
Launched in December of 2016, Buzzies are non-invasive, wearable devices that use patent-pending neuroscience technology, called BLAST (bilateral alternating stimulation–tactile), to relieve stress and anxiety, as well as improve focus, reduce cravings, improve performance, man-age anger, reduce sensory overload and better enable sleep. BLAST works to interfere with the body’s Fight, Flight or Freeze (F3) response to stress and anxiety. The F3 system depletes the body of energy, mental strength and overall quality of life. When the F3 system is activated, all non-essential functions in the body shut down, such as logic and reason. BLAST technology can help bring the body into a calmer state.
Buzzies technology is designed to work for anyone, but has been shown to be especially beneficial for gifted children or those with autism or ADHD, working professionals, First Responders, and parents who want a cost-effective solution to help diminish stress in real-time.
Buzzies are worn on the right and left side of the body, but do not need to be touching skin to work. Wearers use the Buzzies App to turn on the vibrating units and choose one of the six pre-sets for sleep, focus, cravings, calm, performance or anger. Individual settings can also be easily customized.
Buzzies are available for purchase at http://www.buzzies.com. A set costs $239 and includes two Buzzies devices (one for each side of the body), charger, charging cables, clips and watchband attachments.
About The Touchpoint Solution
Neuropsychologist Dr. Amy Serin and child advocate Vicki Mayo founded The Touchpoint Solution in late 2015 with the mission of bringing relief to the millions of people who suffer from stress and anxiety. Over the last decade, Dr. Serin’s work in therapy and neuroscience led to the discovery that a component of successful PTSD treatment could be used as a stand-alone product for a range of individuals whose stress and intensities hamper performance, relaxation, sleep, and their ability to cope with sensory stimuli. Dr. Serin used quantitative electroencephalogram data, existing neuroscientific research, and archival data to quantify significant brain changes after just seconds of use. Dr. Serin recognized that this method was too powerful a treatment to be confined to doctors' offices due to its effectiveness and simplicity and partnered with long-time friend and child advocate Vicki Mayo to bring the Buzzies to the world. For more information please visit http://www.thetouchpointsolution.com
Buzzies are non-invasive, wearable devices that use patent-pending neuroscience technology to relieve stress and anxiety, improve focus, reduce cravings, improve performance, manage anger, reduce sensory overload and better enable sleep. They can be worn on both wrists or can be placed in more discrete locations, such as socks, pockets, etc. Buzzies need to be worn on both the right and left side of the body to be effective. Buzzies officially launched to the public in December 2016 and are available to purchase online at http://www.buzzies.com for $239.
TechDigg - Touchpoint Invents Two Little Squares That Reduce Stress and Help You Focus
For thosethat whosuffer with anxiety, nervousness, or even have trouble sleeping due to night terrors, there hasn’t really been a resource or aid to help with these conditions. We’ve tried medications, counseling, and other avenues, but nothing really worked. Now, however, a new system fromThe TouchPoint Solutions™seems to be the type of gadgets we’ve all been waiting for.
According to the company’s website, “TouchPoints™ are a non-iInvasive, wearable device that uses patent pending neuroscience to relieve stress in as little as 30 seconds.”
The wearable gives us a way to relieve stress and allow better focus during times in which we feel anxious. It’s super discreet and can either be worn on your wrist or placed in your pocket, as it works the same either way. The company stands by their statement that by using the devicefor as little asjust5 minutes a day, you can increase your overall performance and focus.
How does it work?
TouchPoints™ original is very easy to set up, which makes it ideal for users of all ages and technological savviness. The wearable itself just straps onto your wrist with ease, so it’s very simple to begin using.TouchPoints can also be worn in pockets, socks, or tank top straps. The wearables correspond with a smartphone app that allows the user to take advantage of multiple types of settings.
Through the app, you can choose one of six preset options that each have a particular center of attention: sleep, focus, craving, calm, performance, and anger. If none of these meet your individual needs, you can also set custom levels for frequency, intensity and overlap.
When you feel stressed or anxious, just simply turn the TouchPoints™ on and the you will feel a gentle bilateral vibration. press the button on either device and the signal is sent. “TouchPoints™ use BLAST technology transferring alternating vibrations to alter the body’s Fight, Flight or Freeze (F3) response to stress and anxiety and to restore homeostatic nervous system functioning, allowing you to think clearly and experience calm,”says the company.
Thecompany TouchPoint Solution™ has also begun manufacturing another generation of the device,TouchPoints™ basic. Thebasicversion still gets the job done by sending signals to help you stay calm and focused, but without having to use an app. The idea behind this version was to give those without constant access to a smartphone the same opportunity to use the gadget in the exact same way someone would be able to take advantage of the original version.
You can also choose from a range of colors for yourTouchPoints™ basicwearable – Fuschia Pink, Marine Green, Cornflower Blue, or Graphite Gray – whereas the TouchPoints™ originalcomes in Black only.
Who came up with TouchPoints™ and why?
I had the opportunity to speak with the co-founders of TouchPoints™, Dr. Amy Serin and Vicki Mayo to understand more about where the idea came from, how it came to fruition, and more. These two very inspiring ladies were more than happy to answer anyquestions I had.
What prompted you to develop such a product?
Serin: “I was aneuro psychologist for a decade and saw many patients without access to the things they needed. It was not fair to confine a device like this todoctors’ offices when we could allow open access for all. Stress is the culprit of our everyday lives and TouchPoints™ helps handle it.”
Mayo: “My daughter suffered from night terrors and after using TouchPoints™, she was able to sleep through the night and wake up without feeling cranky or tired. I told Dr. Serin about it and we began thinking of ways to get this type of device out to others who need it.”
Who is your target consumer and why?
Mayo: “Everyone. Anyone who suffers from stress, lack of focus, or anxiety.”
What kind of feedback have you received from consumers so far?
Serin: “Executives and professionals use to TouchPoints™ to improve performance, enable better sleep, and to calm down from anger and irritation in certain work situations. Moms use them for themselves and their children. They even share with friends who need it. Anesthesiologists, EMTs and other medical professionals also use the device on patients to help them overcome anxiety and stress.”
What do you say to those who are skeptical?
Serin: “First, I say ‘Thank you.’ I then urge them to read the research behind TouchPoints™.This isn’t newtechnology; it’s been used for decades. If you have a solid base of scientific data and proven use, then you have something good – and we know that. The device is non-invasive and if they just try it out they will see a difference in hope they feel and cope with stress.”
During research trials for TouchPoints™,71% of people saw a reduction in stress within the first 30 seconds.
Do you plan to further develop TouchPoints™?
Mayo: “TouchPoints™ originalwill see a few upgrades and wewilldevelop it further.In addition to the existing presettings for sleep, calm, optimizing performance, users will see a new analytics dashboard for easier navigation on the app.We are also working on a less expensive version that doesn’t need an app to work. On June 5, the TouchPoint™ basicIndiegogo campaign will launch.”
You can check out the Indiegogo campaign for TouchPoints™ basic here.
What’s next forThe TouchPoint Solution™?
Serin and Mayo have not just developed devices that can help us through everyday stressful situations, but they also work hard behind-the-scenes to create a more inclusive world around them.
Their company has set up a scholarship fund to help those who cannot afford access to TouchPoints™ be able to receive them and to tell their own stories of how the device is able to change their lives. To apply visit the website at ilovetouchpoints.com and fill out the simple application.
The company also helps people with disabilities be able to work by hiring them ontoThe TouchPoint Solution™ staff. For instance, every one of the TouchPoint™packages are filled and shipped by people who are legally blind. The ladies claim this is just one way the company tries to implement more ‘conscious capitalism.’
Here at TechDigg, we are inspired by more than just this really awesome gadget. The story of how TouchPoints™ came to be, the masterminds behind the project, and the upcoming devices and features that will help so many more people gain access to this gadget are all part of this great big world of innovation and passion. We are excited to see how TouchPoints™ grow and touch those who have been waiting so long for a device like this. You can check out the TouchPoints™ story and more for yourselfhere.
You can also support this awesome device on their IndieGOGO page here
PRWeb - The TouchPoint Solution Announces Lifestyle Product Rebrand
The company’s popular wearable technology will be renamed “TouchPoints” to better align with customer feedback and experience
Scottsdale, Arizona (PRWEB) June 01, 2017
Following a highly successful Kickstarter campaign and user feedback period, The TouchPoint Solution has announced the company will rename its leading neuroscience lifestyle product to “TouchPoints,” formerly called “Buzzies.” The updated name aims to more accurately describe the non-invasive wearable devices, enabling consumers who are exploring the product to better understand how the technology works, and ultimately, begin their own journey toward stress relief.
Sold as a set of wearable devices, TouchPoints use BLAST (Bi-lateral Alternating Stimulation Delivered Tactile) technology that transfers alternating vibrations to alter the body’s stress-driven Fight, Flight or Freeze (F3) response and restore homeostatic nervous system functioning, allowing users to think clearly and experience calm.
“Dr. Amy Serin and I started this company just over 18 months ago with one goal: Helping reduce stress in people’s lives,” said Vicki Mayo, CEO and Co-Founder of The TouchPoint Solution. “Today, there are over 5,000 TouchPoint devices worldwide accomplishing that mission and improving people’s lives. To reach more people, however, we wanted the product’s name to line up with what consumers understood it to do, who it was for, and how it would work – an insight our current customers helped to uncover.”
Customers who purchased the patent-pending technology devices since December’s launch have reported that just 30 seconds of using the product can reduce stress by up to 71 percent. They also shared that they were pleasantly surprised by the positive experience using the devices – the product’s name created initial confusion in their minds about how it might work (such as shocking or loud “buzzing” sounds), and who it might be meant for (children versus adults). Once they tested the product and realized its effective simplicity, they wanted to make sure others knew.
“Our customers are our best source of inspiration for the work we do,” said Amy Serin, PhD, Chief Science Officer and Co-Founder. “It’s only natural, then, that we would make their feedback and comments so integral into our business. In addition to this name update, we will continue to listen to user feedback to help evolve neuroscience technology and products that help people relieve stress and improve their lives.”
TouchPoints are available for purchase at http://www.TheTouchPointSolution.com. A set costs $240 and includes two TouchPoint devices (one for each side of the body) as well as charging cables, with additional accessories, such as colorful wristbands, available separately.
The TouchPoint Solution’s second product, TouchPoints Basic, will be launched via Indiegogo in later this year, bringing a lower-cost model of the devices to market for customers looking for a simple way to reduce stress.
For more information, visit http://www.TheTouchPointSolution.com.
About The Touchpoint Solution
Neuropsychologist Amy Serin, PhD, and child advocate Vicki Mayo founded The Touchpoint Solution in late 2015 with the mission of bringing relief to the millions of people who suffer from stress and anxiety. Over the last decade, Dr. Serin’s work in therapy and neuroscience led to the discovery that a component of successful PTSD treatment could be used as a stand-alone product for a range of individuals whose stress and intensities hamper performance, relaxation, sleep, and their ability to cope with sensory stimuli. Dr. Serin recognized that this method was too powerful to be confined to doctors' offices and partnered with long-time friend and entrepreneur Vicki Mayo to bring TouchPoints to the world. For more information, please visit https://thetouchpointsolution.com.
TouchPoints are non-invasive, wearable devices that use patent-pending neuroscience technology to relieve stress and anxiety, improve focus, reduce cravings, improve performance, manage anger, reduce sensory overload and better enable sleep. They come in a set to be worn on both the right and left side of the body, on wrists or in discrete locations such as in the hands, socks or pockets. TouchPoints are available to purchase online at TheTouchPointSolution.com for $240.
TouchPoints are a neuroscientific lifestyle device. They are not a substitute for medical treatment nor are they intended to cure any medical condition.
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/06/prweb14385986.htm
The Arizona Republic - Scottsdale entrepreneurs place stress relief in the palm of your hand
The Arizona Republic - Scottsdale entrepreneurs place stress relief in the palm of your hand - By Georgeann Yara
It all started with two phone calls between friends in 2015. The first was out of desperation and helplessness. The second arose from gratitude and joy.
Vicki Mayo’s daughter was experiencing vivid night terrors from which Mayo could not wake her. And Mayo needed help.
“For parents, this is one of the most terrifying things ever. Your child is screaming, thrashing … and you can’t wake them up,” Mayo said.
She called her friend Dr. Amy Serin, a neuropsychologist and founder of the Serin Center in Peoria, and asked her for advice. This was call No. 1.
Serin had harnessed a certain technology into a handheld device but wasn’t sure how it could be used. She was researching the impact of stress on children and was working to provide a solution. This device was the result of her work at that time. Serin suggested Mayo give it to her daughter during an episode.
Mayo did. It worked. Her daughter was able to calm down and go back to sleep. The next morning, she was in a great mood — which, Mayo said, never happened after a rough night.
The happy second call came from Mayo the next day.
“I called Amy and said, ‘What was that voodoo magic you gave me and what are you doing about it?’ ” recalled Mayo, a career entrepreneur.
'This is something everyone needs'
Together, they came up with a response to that question and formed the Touchpoint Solution, a company that produces an advanced version of the original device called Touch Points — a pair of lightweight squares that can be worn, held or clipped onto clothing. They send vibrations that the company says disengage the body’s instinctive "fight or flight" response to stress. They operate using bilateral stimulation, which means they must be worn on both sides of the body — the arms, socks, pockets, bra straps, etc. — to allow the vibrations to travel across the body, Mayo explained.
Mayo and Serin hired an engineer and worked on the product, which was formerly known as Buzzies, before introducing it into the market in 2016. The $240 price tag includes a set of Touch Points and the app that makes them work.
More than 5,000 Touch Points have been sold as of March, generating more than $750,000 in sales, Mayo said. They are sold through the website to customers in the U.S, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. They sell out quickly; in fact, the company went through a six-week dry spell during which it had several thousand requests on the wait list, Mayo said.
“It’s been a whirlwind because this is something everyone needs,” she said.
Mayo may be right. According to the American Institute of Stress, 77 percent of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, and 73 percent report experiencing psychological symptoms caused by stress. Forty-eight percent say they lie awake at night due to stress.
Company feedback indicates that 71 percent of Touch Points users report a stress reduction after using them for 30 seconds, Mayo said. Medical research shows similar results. Mayo and Serin have run tests on users experiencing stress and used a brain scan, quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG), to measure the impact of Touch Points. The scan shows a 90 percent reduction in beta waves after 30 seconds, according to company data.
These results indicate it’s not a gimmick or placebo effect, Mayo explains.
“It’s not just a product. It’s a fundamental change in how we treat stress. It’s so life-changing,” she said.
Clients include people with sleep difficulties, first responders, people with stressful occupations and executives. Some are companies that use them in their general wellness plans. School districts have also purchased them. A call-center company reported that its agents’ ratings increased after using them, Mayo said.
Clients have found non-professional benefits, too. Mayo mentioned moms who use them while having morning coffee to get centered, give them to screaming kids in the car on the way to or from school and even hand them to husbands to diffuse potential arguments.
“This is the culture of instant everything. Most don’t have the time to do yoga, meditate and be mindful. They need instant stress relief,” Mayo said.
Making an impact
As a vice president of an international technology company who’s always on the go, Joe DePalo rarely has the time to hit a yoga studio or do deep breathing in a quiet space for an hour when he’s in a tense situation or preparing for big meeting.
When yoga and meditation apps failed to help, someone told DePalo about Touch Points.
“Medications have side effects. I was looking for non-medicine, non-traditional solutions to manage the stress and anxiety that comes from life,” said DePalo, who recently relocated from Phoenix to Seattle.
He admitted he was skeptical at first. But after giving Touch Points a try, DePalo was convinced. He said it allows him to concentrate on a single thought and also break off an obsessive one, similar to when a song gets stuck in your head and you can’t stop it from playing. They have helped him improve focus, and he uses them to write presentations and puts them in his pockets before and during crucial meetings.
“I use it as a reinforcement in how I manage the day-to-day business and my job,” he said.
DePalo’s son uses them before baseball games, and his daughter held them for a few minutes to clear her mind before taking the SAT, he said. The whole family has experienced benefits, and so has DePalo in more than just his professional life.
“I use it at home. It’s helpful in setting a clear work-life balance. It’s my way of decompressing and eliminates the need for a drink or a walk,” he said. “It allows you to be in the moment with your family, kids and spouse.”
This technology is not new. Mayo explained that PTSD victims have been receiving similar therapies for decades. But that treatment has come with a $200- to $300-per-hour price tag that involves a trip to a therapist’s office.
“You don’t have to take time out of your day to do yoga, and you don’t have to take medications with side effects. You can do this and can keep talking to a friend or cooking dinner,” she said.
Touch Points are manufactured in the United States, with the majority done in Tempe. All packaging and shipping are done by blind employees. For each set of Touch Points that’s sold, Mayo and Serin donate a set to someone in need as part of their A Touch of Hope Scholarship program.
“We weren’t interested in making millions of dollars. I believe it is our greatest obligation to humanity to help others,” Mayo said. “It’s not about the money. It’s about how we can make an impact on society.”
The Touchpoint Solution
Interesting stat: Annual costs to employers in stress related health care and missed work totals $300 billion, according to the American Institute of Stress.
Details: 877-778-6824, thetouchpointsolution.com.
In Case You Missed it
It's been a busy month for the TouchPoint Solution! Our team has been hard at work preparing for the launch of TouchPoints basic in June, and people have taken notice. The Arizona Republic got exclusive insight into the neuroscience behind TouchPoints, and our co-founders sat down with Chrissy May from Spotlight on Arizona to talk about the TouchPoint Solution's founding. We also shared some exciting news about changes we're making to better serve you, our users. Read on to catch up with all of the growth we've made this month!
Georgeann Yara | The Arizona Republic
May 24, 2017
"According to the American Institute of Stress, 77 percent of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, and 73 percent report experiencing psychological symptoms caused by stress. Forty-eight percent say they lie awake at night due to stress.
Company feedback indicates that 71 percent of Touch Points users report a stress reduction after using them for 30 seconds, Mayo said. Medical research shows similar results. Mayo and Serin have run tests on users experiencing stress and used a brain scan, quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG), to measure the impact of Touch Points. The scan shows a 90 percent reduction in beta waves after 30 seconds, according to company data."
Hayley Ringle | Phoenix Business Journal
May 17, 2017
Fox 10 - New device could change treatments on PTSD and other conditions
PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. (KSAZ) - It's a battle many people face in their everyday life: stress. Improperly dealt with, stress could lead to serious physical problems.
Now, a Valley doctor believes neuroscience techniques, combined with non-invasive technology, can provide the stress relief a lot of people need.
Dr. Amy Serin, a neuro-psychologist in Paradise Valley, believes her "buzzies" device can be the answer many people are looking for, when it comes to stress relief.
"We have this biological mechanism in our brains that is supposed to go in 'fight or flight' when we see Sabertooth Tigers," said Dr. Serin. "In our modern society, many of us don't have that, so it goes off when our cell phones are ringing and we can't find them, or if were five minutes late to an event."
The Buzzies device is a pair of Bluetooth devices that patients can either hold in their hands, or wear on their wrists. The devices then work together to send signals to the brain that Dr. Serin said changes the way one process stress and anxiety.
"Just a simple touch or a vibration isn't going to change a Nervous System response when it's alternating or bilateral," said Dr. Serin. "That will interfere with the right network in the right way in the brain, and then start to create a more calm response than a stressful one."
From first responders to patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), people using the device are feeling the positive effects. For patients like Catina Hoffman, the device has been a lifesaver.
"Sometimes, I'm just tapped out," said Hoffman. "I'm frustrated. I'm irritated."
Hoffman said the new devices have helped to neutralize a lot of that frustration, and it has helped relax bot her, and her children, which has led to better attention and sleeping habits.
"Even if there's days where we're irritated or just don't like each other, that we can coexist in the same room," said Hoffman.
Dr. Serin is working with several universities to conduct more research, but since the Buzzies hit the market in December, some 2,000 devices have already been sold.
Phoenix Magazine - Left to Your Own Devices
Scottsdale neuropsychologist and mom Dr. Amy Serin created Buzzies, a non-invasive device used to relieve stress and anxiety, to help her patients and her own two children who have ADHD and anxiety. Buzzies ($239 each) are wristbands that resemble fitness trackers. They connect to an Android- and Apple-compatible app to create soothing vibrations based on individuals’ needs. Serin partnered with her friend, child advocate Vicki Mayo, to bring the device to the public. Their patent is currently pending. Serin and Mayo say that using Buzzies for at least five minutes a day improves focus, reduces cravings, helps with anger management and leads to better sleep. www.buzzies.com
Wearablezone - TouchPoints Place Neuropsychological Stress Treatment On Your Wrists
Before neuropsychologist Dr. Amy Serin invented the Buzzies, she assumed that they already existed. “This has be accessible already,” she said as she searched for a device that applied the kind of treatments she used in her practice. “Surely, as effective as this is, somebody has thought of this.”
But her search came up empty. So she decided to make it herself.
Dr. Serin had worked to help patients treat stress anxiety disorders for around a decade at her own clinic. But she wanted to give patients an easy, passive way to use common treatments at home.
“I really saw the need for my patients to have some form of relief that was not a drug,” she said. “I also partially developed this in response to the needs of my own children and family.” She said that she based the devices on a component of a successful treatment for PTSD: bilateral stimulation.
Bringing Clinical Treatments Into The Home
In bilateral stimulation, which is a component of a more comprehensive therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), the patient is stimulated by something in a rhythmic, left-right pattern. For example, lights will flash in one eye and the other, or an audio track plays in one ear and then the other. This pattern takes your mind off your stressful experiences.
Here’s how she applied that therapy in the Buzzies. They are two separate squares that connect to your phone via Bluetooth. You place the two devices on either side of your body by wearing them on your wrists like watches, in your socks, or stuffed in your tank top straps. Then, with the free app, you choose your settings and activate the devices. They vibrate rhythmically, back and forth, which is supposed to melt away your stress or anxiety.
Prior to developing the Buzzies, Dr. Serin had read interesting research about the ways tactile stimulation could help stress and anxiety. This led her to favor stimulating the sense of touch through vibrations when creating the devices. “Clinicians think of bilateral stimulation as one interchangeable category, but really the way that tactile stimulation gets processed in the brain is quite different than other forms of sensory stimulation,” she said. “Touch is really our most important sense.”
At first, using the Buzzies is a strange experience. The rhythmic, back-and-forth vibrations are distracting, which is the point. In my experience, I slowly felt more relaxed as I became more accustomed to the sensation of my wrists vibrating. The vibration was too loud to allow me the wear the Buzzies in the open office where I work, but I could comfortably wear them at home or while I was driving — which, incidentally, came in handy whenever I hit a traffic jam.
While it’s still a good idea to use traditional stress relief techniques like exercise and meditation, the Buzzies have one huge advantage: passivity. You can use them while you’re working outside, in your car, and anywhere the sound of a vibration isn’t likely to cause distractions. Since the Buzzies don’t require any additional, conscious work, I’m more likely to use them.
Successful Stress Relief
Dr. Serin said that she has seen success using the devices — even for people in the most stressful jobs. She gave one example of a police officer who had to face the man who was charged with shooting his partner in court. Worried about about having an angry outburst while testifying, he used the Buzzies in order to calm his nerves.
The devices have even helped first responders internationally. While Dr. Serin was consulting for a group that responded to the deadly West African ebola crisis, she gave a set of Buzzies to someone who helped the victims of that outbreak. While many first responders emerged from that public health disaster with PTSD, the Buzzies seemed to help this person avoid the worst psychological troubles.
Dr. Serin was surprised to see the autistic community also take a liking to the Buzzies. Children with autism typically face stress and anxiety, and parents can use the devices in order to calm nerves in otherwise stressful situations. Parents particularly find it useful for anxious children who have trouble sleeping at night. A few minutes with the Buzzies helps them doze off.
Dr. Serin has gathered a wealth of data about the effectiveness of the devices, and she is working to get it published in a medical journal in the future. Right now, she’s focused on improving the devices so they’re a better consumer product. “I’m excited that now that we’re getting user feedback,” she said.
The Buzzies kit costs $239. However, Dr. Serin’s company Touchpoint Solution has a program that provides scholarships to people who can benefit from the devices.
Dr. Serin said that she hopes more widespread use of the devices will help people treat chronic stress and bring proven treatments into the mainstream. “This can create some profound changes, not only for families and individuals, but for the human condition,” she said. “If we’re calm, everything goes better.”