Smartwatches are growing ever more capable by the day. Sometimes, though, there's no harm in a little focus. Enter Emvio, a watch with one core goal: to help you manage stress. There are no message notifications or apps, instead, Emvio monitors variations in your heart rate (HRV), only bothering you (ironically) once your stress levels start to rise. Your daily data is also fed to an app which can help you spot trends or individual stress triggering events, helping you better plan to manage them in the future. Can a single-focus connected watch cut it against growing competition? Its creators certainly think so, and they're hoping enough people on Kickstarter will, too.
You might be thinking that we usually know when we're stressed, right? Maybe, when it's very pronounced. Emvio wants to help with those every day challenges we might not notice: overreacting to minor things, dealing with bad news, or perhaps your reactions to traffic on your commute. Because you can instantly see where you are on a scale of one to 10, the idea is you'll be more mindful of your current state, and take action to deal with it. Emvio let us try an early prototype, and it was interesting to see that times when I could have said I "felt normal" Emvio indicated I was moderately stressed (or, more so than I expected). Only later, when taking a break or relaxing would levels return to normal, and I'd notice the difference. It's not hard to imagine that a little more awareness might go some way to changing habits, like taking a break, or reassessing your reaction to a situation. In the longer term, the benefits could mean less visits to the doctor, or, who knows, just a better life?
What we didn't get to look at, was the app. It's worth mentioning, that the app is iOS initially, but an Android version will be available if the (ambitious) $440k (Canadian dollars) stretch goal is reached. Being able to see how stressed you are throughout the day is neat (something other devices also claim to do), but it's making use of that data over time that will provide the real value. This does raise a few questions, though. Once you've established a few stress triggers, and incorporated mechanisms to deal with them, what next? Are you just left with a curious looking watch? Anthony Moskalenko from Emvio thinks it's a long term deal, saying the watch "will help users to develop stress-control habits and cultivate more mindfulness... stressful events will never go away, though our ways of dealing with it will evolve."
Despite the focus on stress, Emvio does have a few other features. Obviously, one being that it can read your pulse for non-stress situations, too. Like fitness. Handy, as the watch also works as an activity tracker, too, making it something of an all-round "wellbeing" device. If the Kickstarter is successful, Emvio will come in two sizes (dubbed "Romeo" or "Juliet"), will support wireless charging and cost $206 (CAD) each (unless you're quick enough to snap up one of the early-bird pledges which are running at $130.) If backing reaches the $375k mark, an "Elite" edition with a chrome metal face will be unlocked for those who prefer a metal finish. Lofty targets for sure, but what price would you put on a lower stress life?