Inspiration

One of the major hurdles to being more zen is the inability to notice when getting caught up in things around us. Whether it's positive or negative, our propensity to get over-excited is hard to manage, since it's often difficult to notice this reaction until after it's already finished.

This app was built to fix that problem, to help people become better at both realizing that they're overreacting, and de-stressing when needed.

What it does

Zenotify uses your wearable of choice to gather heart rate data, and signals you when your heart rate reflects higher stress levels than normal. It detects for an increased heart rate pattern, but with minimal accelerometer movement of the wearable or mobile device.

The notification also prompts the user to enter the app, and begin playing the de-stressing mini game. It is a very simple game, designed to both distract the user through continued exposure to new brain stimuli, as well as create an uplifting state for the stressed our or panicked user.

After playing the game, users see how the game effected their heart rate, and how much money they earned for taking the opportunity to calm down when needed. This would be a simple monetary incentive for users to step back every time they de-stress, which is beneficial for their insurance providers, whose best interest is in keeping the user alive as long as possible (they would pay out the reward to the user through discounts on premiums for the year or a similar effect).

Finally, users can track their progress and see how well and often they respond to these pings, so they can see the long-term benefits of their improvements.

How we built it

This app was built on iOS using core graphics and animations for the game, and other basic frameworks for the rest of the app. It interacts with a server instance on azure which can give it current heart rate information (to spoof a heart rate monitor, which we didn't have access to).

Challenges we ran into

Unfortunately we realized early that none of the hardware provided would give us the heart rate data we needed, so we decided to build a model which could effectively re-create a heart beat dataset, which could then be used to test the app.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We had an idea that had a lot of real world merit, but didn't fit our circumstances (no heart rate monitor). Instead of abandoning it for a second tier idea, we put even more work than we would have, and created an even more compelling prototype.

What we learned

We learned about the importance of the visual elements used in an app that helps you de-stress. Colours, sounds, and the overall experience should be finely tuned to match the expected needs of the user, to both encourage repeat usage and maximize results during use.

What's next for Zenotify

We're hoping to acquire wearables which can sense this heart rate data, so we can build a fully functional version of the app and launch to the app-store.

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