HabitAware anti-compulsive behavior firm wins SBIR grant
December 13, 2019
Founders Aneela and Sameer Kumar of HabitAware with the "Keen" behavior-alerting bracelet.
HabitAware, a 2018 Minnesota Cup entrepreneur sweepstakes grand prize winner, has been awarded a $225,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by the National Science Foundation to improve its “real-time” awareness solution for those who suffer from body-focused repetitive behaviors, such as nail biting, skin picking or hair pulling.
"Something I have struggled with, for literally over 20 years, is pulling my hair out. I’m not talking about those silly cartoon moments, where a character is “pulling their hair out” because they’re frustrated. This is something that’s much more in-depth, and more serious. Hair-pulling falls under the category of Body-focused repetitive behaviours or BFRBs, for short. This also includes nail-biting, and skin picking, etc."
"You probably know someone who bites their nails. Heck, it's so common you might even do it yourself. But while you might dismiss it as just a 'bad habit,' it's actually categorized as a Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior (BFRB) — a general term for a group of related disorders that involve the manipulation of hair or skin on the body."
"To go along with this mindfulness recognition, I've found it helpful to have a Keen bracelet, made specifically for people with BFRBs by the company HabitAware. They buzz when your hands are in your trigger area so you can take a second to re-assess. I've found this bracelet to be extremely effective in noticing patterns, plus it even has an app to show you your progress and determine patterns."