News story

New stress-reducing wristband 'doppel' reaches first backers

Developers of empathic wearable technology achieve production milestone as Kickstarter backers receive first batch of ‘doppel’ wristbands.

Jack Hooper, Chief Product Officer and a company founder, wearing a doppel.
Jack Hooper, Chief Product Officer and a company founder, wearing a doppel.

After a 2-year testing and development phase, the team at London-based technology start-up, doppel, have begun sending their new stress-reducing wristband, also called doppel, to customers.

The company has now been able to reward early investors who supported the project through Kickstarter, the online funding platform for creative projects, by sending them the first wristbands to leave the production line.

Proof of market for empathic wearables

Jack Hooper, CPO and one of the founders of doppel, said:

When we set out on this journey we knew our idea could improve lives but we weren’t sure if it stacked up as a commercial proposition. Fortunately, initial funding from Innovate UK gave us the chance to test the market.

The work we did with the grant gave us the evidence and confidence to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than £110,000 through 820 backers. This allowed us to develop our proposition and, since then, we’ve raised further funding and have also secured a manufacturing partner which has saved significant upfront costs.

For us, Kickstarter wasn’t a marketing campaign, it was a way to see if doppel had a chance. It’s been tough, and we’ve had our setbacks, but seeing the amazing responses from our first customers makes it all worth it.

A new way to naturally reduce stress

Research in psychology and neuroscience shows that humans respond intuitively and naturally to different rhythms. Slower tempos result in calm and positive emotional states while fast rhythms are more associated with emotional states such as joy, excitement and surprise.

doppel uses a heartbeat - the rhythm we all experience first as embryos - in a silent and subtle way. Our brains respond to this rhythm and we begin to entrain to it, in a similar way to how we respond to music.

The wristband works by creating a silent vibration on the inside of the wearer’s wrist which feels like the ‘lub-dub’ of a heartbeat. Unlike most wearables, doppel doesn’t count steps or send notifications. Instead, it is designed to help people stay calm under pressure and focus on tasks. It enables wearers to become more alert or to relax, without having to turn to caffeine, sugar or alcohol, or time-consuming methods such as meditation.

Leading-edge healthcare is one of the challenges of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – part of the government’s Industrial Strategy. Part of the challenge asks companies like doppel to apply for funding to develop novel digital health products and technologies.

Find out more about the leading-edge healthcare challenge.

Creating a crossover market to boost sales

The doppel has been available to pre-order since late 2016 and the company aims to launch the wristband online in the next couple of months.

Its novel approach provides an opportunity to exploit the potential of two massively expanding markets - wearables and mindfulness, worth an estimated $14 billion and $27 billion, to create a new crossover segment. The company has identified the US as its biggest market and plans to set up a subsidiary there to boost sales.

Hooper added:

We see doppel as the next step for wearable technology. doppel is active, not passive. It goes beyond monitoring and does something for you. Within a minute or two of use, you feel the change. You don’t need to see a graph for it to work and you don’t need to download your data for it to change your day.

Our brains haven’t evolved to process data, our brains have evolved to process experiences. We think the technology of today gives us data but the technology of tomorrow will give us experiences.

Published 26 April 2018