Can technological devices actually help us relax? This post reviews a little gadget called the Pip, a small teardrop shaped device with a finger print touchpad. The Pip links to apps on your phone that reflect your real time stress reactions. Does this form of technological relaxation work, or it is simply more screen time?
This post is sponsored by PIP
What is the PIP?
The Pip is a small device with a touchpad that measures your electro-dermal activity in your fingertips. That activity alters as you produce more sweat. Sweating is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system and produced when you’re emotionally stressed.
The Pip links to three apps:
- Stress Tracker App which shows your current anxiety levels, moving up and down as you relax.
- Relax & Race – the more you relax the quicker the dragon races the computer dragon.
- Loom – the more you relax the quicker a winter scenery will turn to spring.
The EDA changes continuously and the Pip uses these changes to influence your progress in the apps.
Each time you use the device and an associated app it collects the data so you can compare your stress levels. I preferred the Stress Tracker because I don’t like looking at screens anymore than I already do. Although, if you’re really tense and have a lot on your mind the games can help take your mind elsewhere.
Does the PIP make you relax?
It isn’t the PIP device itself that makes you relax, it’s taking time out of your day to focus on something calming with the goal of relaxing. Just as if you did ten minutes of meditation with other apps like this. However if you’re a competitive, number crunching type who like to see noted progress in these things, the PIP is great because you can compare the data from each session.
Does the PIP have any down falls?
It is limited in the way it diagnoses your stress (ie. no heart rate measurements etc, only measures electrodermal activity – sweat). For ME this was limiting because I suffer with particularly sweaty hands usually and have done all my life. I wondered how much this impacted my results, so I tested it. When I was sweating and hot, although relatively calm, I completed a round of the dragon app. Immediately after that I put the fan on to reduce my sweating and completed another round of the dragon app. I saw a big difference in my results, the first said I was very stressed and the second was one of my best. In saying this, if you don’t have my sweaty hands problems (yes, I’m jealous) this won’t mess with your results too much. Skin conductivity can also vary due to humidity, exercise, or being sick, so be aware that your results may vary in these situations.
Cost & making it worthwhile
The PIP is expensive at $169 & can be purchased here. However if you need to relax and feel this would help train you to take time to relax, it’s probably worthwhile. Like any relaxation technique, it would be best practiced daily. I think it would be best used in conjunction with some other mindfulness techniques, like deep breathing for example, so you can equip yourself with skills that help reduce your stress, both with and without the gadget. Measuring before and after relaxation events (like these or these types of things) is a good idea too. The Pip is an effective way though to help you see which of these skills/techniques help you relax the most.
What works best for your relaxation? Do you think the Pip would help you learn how to relax?