Thank you to these amazing journalists and bloggers for sharing our story and Keen as a wearable device for positive behavior change. We appreciate your efforts to raise awareness of body focused repetitive behaviors, like trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder), dermatillomania (skin picking) & onychophagia (nail biting).
People with BFRBs perform repetitive self-grooming activities such as picking, pulling or biting. These can cause emotional distress and damage to the body, but the people performing the behaviours can't stop. At their most extreme, these conditions are life-threatening.
Millions of kids suffer from mental health disorders called Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors, or BFRBs, which are subconscious behaviors that are physical, repetitive movements or gestures of the hands, focused on the body. They include but are not limited to: hair pulling (Trichotillomania), nail biting (Onychophagia), and skin picking (Dermatillomania / excoriation disorder). For many kids, these disorders cause not only physical but emotional and mental harm and can affect their learning in school.
HabitAware was awarded a $300,000 federal research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to further develop and test its innovative wearable device for treating trichotillomania, a debilitating mental health disorder that involves compulsive hair pulling and affects 180 million people worldwide.
What I loved is [Keen] was, so easy to set it up. No hassles and no kind of issues. Use our iOS or Android app to train Keen to look out for your specific behavior and movement. I was able to do both of my hands, so when I make that movement towards my face, it will vibrate and I know to stop.
“Backstage is on a mission to empower those that were marginalized by typical VC culture,” Idnani Kumar said. “To be a Headliner is to embody this mission and apply it to the problems we see in the world.”
Aneela Kumar is one busy and talented techie. A budding entrepreneur, you may remember her from her Minnedemo20 presentation of Kid Around Town, a mobile app to help families explore their world and capture their memories. Or perhaps you remember her for being the inspiration behind HabitAware, which her husband, Sameer Kumar presented at Minnedemo23.
HabitAware makes Keen, a smart bracelet that brings awareness to unwanted behaviors, such as hair pulling, skin picking, and nail biting. A user connects Keen to our mobile app and “records” their repetitive behavior onto the bracelet. When Keen senses a match to the wrist-based movement recorded, it vibrates gently, bringing the user into awareness and allowing them to have the presence of mind to make healthier choices.
El brazalete inteligente – que ha nacido de una necesidad de su creadora – sirve de ayuda a las personas que inconscientemente tienen malos hábitos como arrancarse el pelo, morderse las uñas o cualquier otro comportamiento compulsivo.
John Pritchard is a co-founder and Lead Hardware Engineer at HabitAware, Inc., and an adjunct instructor at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches an introductory course about the Internet of Things (IoT). “A bill of materials (or BOM) is at the heart of a design well suited for manufacture,” he says. “It is, at its core, a list of all the items necessary to carry out production of a physical good.”
The [Keen] bracelet looks like a fitness tracker and uses motion sensors to detect its wearer’s specific behavior after a one-time training with a companion mobile app. When the device senses your hand doing your unwanted gesture, it vibrates to make you aware of what you are doing, giving you an opportunity to stop.