Stress-induced disorders, like anxiety, represent a leading cause of adult disability worldwide, and can exacerbate other disease conditions like cardiovascular disease, obesity, chronic pain, as well as mental health, gastrointestinal and sleep disorders.
What it does
StressOS sources heart rate data from a FitBit to help users utilize biofeedback and deep breathing techniques to reduce their heart rate quickly and effectively during stressful situations.
How we built it
StressOS was built primarily in Android Studio and Fitbit Studio. We created an app for the Fitbit Ionic (and other wifi-connected models) that reads heart rate sensor data and sends it to the StressOS android app. The android app then notifies the user as their heart rate is changing during the breathing exercise.
Challenges we ran into
Some of the challenges we ran into involved integrating the phone's sensor function into our app. As we all own Samsung phones, we wanted to use the Samsung API for heartbeat, but could not find detailed documentation on it. As a result, we opted to use a FitBit in order to read heart rate.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We created a working cross-platform app in under 24 hours.
What we learned
Two of us learned to use Kotlin for the first time. We also learned to choose APIs that have good documentation.
There is a virtually untapped market for an app combining a heart rate monitor with stress reduction coaching and breathing techniques. There are plenty of apps that exist as a heart rate monitor, but few, if any, combine the added benefit of deep breathing or stress reduction techniques. Those apps that do have a stress reduction component charge you a fee for the extra feature (talk about stressful!).
More than 5 billion people have mobile devices, with over half being smartphones. StressOS is easy to use for virtually any patient regardless of age, dexterity, language, etc.
We believe StressOS will have in immediate impact during stressful situations, panic attacks, or those seeking a new method for relaxation. By using deep breathing to promote stress reduction, there is some possibility that users who suffer from anxiety may be able to reduce their use of anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines, beta blockers, or antidepressants. With decreased use, there is a lower chance of experiencing medication-related side effects, rebound effects from overuse, or dependence on these medications.
There is also data to suggest deep breathing exercises can have benefits to other disease states and conditions like isolated systolic hypertension, exercise blood pressure, burn pain/itching, asthma, post-operative pulmonary complications, functional abdominal pain in children, labor pain, rumination syndrome, and cancer, among others (references can be provided upon request).
What's next for StressOS
Currently StressOS allows users to follow a sequence of deep breathing with counts of 4 seconds inhaling and 4 seconds exhaling. There are may deep breathing techniques available and we would like to allow users to select their desired technique from a menu on the home page.