Breathe easy: The science behind Fitbit and Apple's mindfulness push
WAREABLE, AUGUST 30, 2016
It’s the new big thing in wearable tech. The new Fitbit Charge 2 has it and the Apple Watch is about to jump on board: breathing and mindfulness are the next metrics to be tracked by your wearable, but are they a potential lifesaver or a bunch of marketing puff?
Over the past few years, big-name devices have gone from keeping tabs on steps and sleep with basic accelerometers to GPS performance tracking, heart-rate sensors, blood oxygen levels, muscle-mass monitoring and so much more.
Now the next big trend in wearable tech seems to be focused on our mental wellbeing rather than our physical performance.
And it’s going beyond niche devices. The Bellabeat LEAF, Spire and Feel wristband have already put mindfulness front and centre. But now that the big wearable tech names, like Apple with its Breathe app in watchOS3 and the Fitbit Charge 2 with its new guided breathing tool called ‘relax’ are starting to take notice, it won’t be long until smashing a meditation session is just as important as smashing a session at the gym.
This all comes at a time when research suggests our anxiety levels are at an all-time high, and interest in mindfulness and wellbeing is increasing as people realise they can start taking their happiness into their own hands. But can something as subjective as ‘calm’ or ‘mindfulness’ really ever be quantified? And will quantifying our own calm really help us to change our mood, or is it just a load of new age bullshit cashing in on our collective worries?