Wearable Regulator

Overview

               A wearable regulator is a device that can be worn, typically a watch, necklace, or headpiece, which sends a signal back to the wearer. This signal provides some sort of regulatory function. The type of signal depends on the device, for example, some wearable headpieces provide mild electrical stimulation to “boost” parts of the brain, and some provide very mild vibrations at frequencies intending to be soothing.

               The idea of an external bioregulatory device is relatively new, and these products tend to be highly experimental. It will be uncommon to find them for sale locally, but they can be available by contacting supplies and developers. In the coming years they can be expected to become more accessible as the technology develops.

               Early research on wearable regulators shows some promise. One non-peer reviewed study had participants wear a watch which could be set to send mild vibrations that simulated a pulse; the theoretical effect is by mirroring a slow heartbeat, a person’s own heartbeat would match it, and downregulate their excitatory systems. Surprisingly, the first published study showed this product works as intended, with participants showing significantly lower anxiety than controls in stressful situations while wearing the device. However this research has not yet been replicated.

              

 

Pros

               May provide a unique way to boost attention that can be used in concordance with other devices or programs

               Relatively simply to set up and can be used with low functioning children

 

Cons

               External feedback may mask genuine and important biological responses

               Actual impact of tools is quite small

               Expensive

 

To Consider

               These tools vary a great deal in what they do. Consult a specialist or family doctor before purchasing.

Exact prices change frequently, which is why only approximate ranges are listed. 

$ - Under $5

$$ - Between $6 and $50

$$$ - Between $51 and $250

$$$$ - Over $250

Academic Intervention Lab

Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto, ON M5S 1V6, Canada
     Email: academicinterventionlab@utoronto.ca

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