Wearable devices are everywhere. Most use sensor technology to measure things your body is or isn’t doing. Another class of devices, like insulin pumps, takes action on the measurement data to change some condition in the body.
One Los Gatos, Calif.-based company, Thync, is developing wearable devices in that second class, but the body part being acted upon is the mind.
The company says its startups use neurosignaling algorithms — waveforms that signal neural pathways — to shift and optimize the wearer’s state of mind in areas related to energy, calm, and focus. Thync says its device taps directly into the user’s brain.
In short, the device sends low-grade electronic or ultrasound signals to the cranial nerves, which send information to the brain. The Thync device can currently send three types of signal: one for calm, one for focus, and one for energy. You can control the type and intensity of the signal using an app on your phone.
Thync represents the consumerization of a technique called transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) that doctors have been using for years to treat depression, head injuries, learning disabilities, and poor memory.
Now it will be used for serving up good vibes.
The company says it has raised $13 million in venture funding from Khosla Ventures since it launched in 2011. “Thync is at the groundbreaking intersection of neuroscience and consumer technology,” said Khosla Ventures’ Samir Kaul in a statement.
Thync was founded by engineering and neuroscience experts from Stanford, Harvard, and MIT. The company says it’s built “a safe, effective, aesthetically designed lifestyle device that anyone can use.”
The wearables market is projected to top more than $7 billion in 2015, with an estimated 300 million wearables to be shipped. Thync says its technology platform comprises neurosignaling algorithms, hardware, software, and biomaterials.
Thync’s founders say their product can be seen as an alternative to mood-altering drugs such as alcohol or caffeine.