In March 2017, IDC, a data analytics firm, released its Global WearableS Tracking Report for the previous year, which noted that ear wearables will grow at an annual rate of about 43% over the next five years, making them one of the most popular wearables. Although in 2016, only 700,000 ear wearables were shipped. During the same period, smartwatches shipped 49 million and smart bracelets 48 million.
At the time, IDC’s prediction was that ear-wear startups would be able to combine creativity and technology with traditional headphones to add more functionality to the latter beyond sound. The core functions will revolve around exercise tracking, health, etc.
On May 30, 2019, IDC released its latest Global WearableS Tracking Report for the first quarter of 2019, which shows that wearables as a whole are growing rapidly. In 2019 Q1, global shipments of wearable devices were 49.6 million, up 55.2% year-on-year, with smartwatches and smart bracelets still accounting for the majority – 63.2%.
Therefore, many people predict that the future wearables will be another blowout market.
A Silicon Valley company recently began exploring mood-altering wearables that use “low-frequency electromagnetic” technology to change people’s moods, according to the company.
The growing popularity of wearable technology
In 2016, 526 million wearables were connected worldwide. Research shows that by 2022, that number will exceed 1.1 billion. As consumer health awareness increases, technology to monitor heart rate and blood pressure is becoming more popular, and even your mood monitoring may become more and more popular over the next decade.
Given that more and more people are suffering from stress, depression and anxiety, people are beginning to think about whether they can invent the kind of technology that can control people’s emotions.
But can it really change your mood by sliding and pressing a button as easily as a wearable?
Wearable technology is an emerging technology, but it’s not
In 1954, Peter Milner and James Ortz implanted an electrode in the pleasure center of the mouse brain and connected it to a button. Because the pleasure was felt by pressing the button, the mice went so hard to press the button that they gave up food, water and sex until they finally died. Since then, research on emotion-control techniques has slowly increased.
In contemporary medicine, high-frequency electromagnetics are the foundation of imaging equipment such as x-ray, CT and MRI scanning. High-frequency electromagnetics can also be used in radiation therapy, including high-frequency electromagnetics for tumors.
For low-frequency electromagnetics, it is used in electromagnetic therapy, another medical practice that uses low-frequency electromagnetics to alleviate health problems. From stress reduction to cure of cancer, a lot of claims have been made. Many remain skeptical about its benefits, and electromagnetic therapy has not yet been approved by specialized institutions, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Food and Drug Administration (EMA). But that hasn’t stopped some start-ups from trying the treatment.
Today, many companies are selling wearables that “control emotions”
In 2016, ELF emmit launched a campaign on the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo to introduce a headband with an electromagnetic coil to the market, using pulses to “change your mood.” The frequency of these pulses changes, depending on what emotional state you want to reach. The campaign raised $207,186, 414 percent of its $50,000 goal. Fast forward to today, and the product received an average rating of two stars on Amazon and is now marked as “currently unavailable.” Most reviews are poor reviews, and the main reason for poor reviews is that the product is too light and the user interface is poor and doesn’t work at all.
Still, a very similar product has recently appeared (again, on IndieGoGo). Although its $25,000 target is half the ambition of ELF emmit, it has raised $100,000 more than the previous ELF emmit crowdfunding. NeoRhythm is a product very similar to ELF emmit. According to the IndieGoGo page, it “uses technology to stimulate the brain to work at a specific frequency.” “Users can choose the mental state they want, put the technology on their heads, and then control it through an app or gesture. “Currently, the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo has only 44 hours left (and this article may have ended when this article was published), and the product has raised as much as $309,827, which is 1239% of its $25,000 target.
According to the founderofs of NeoRhythm, the product is scientifically proven. In their product description, they refer to two studies published by the same authors in September 2019 and October 2019, respectively: relaxation studies and attention studies. The two studies were published in the journal Open Access Library (OALib), a journal that allows anyone to publish articles for $99.
This product specification is filled with buzzwords such as “electromagnetic waves” and “brain waves”. It claims to help users reduce stress, sleep, meditate, recharge, concentrate and even deal with pain. “The dominant and accompanying frequencies emitted by NeoRhythm are scientifically proven to synchronize the brain and create a perfect mental environment for the ideal mental state,” they explain in the manual. It’s not clear what they mean, but it does sound appealing.
At the end of the product specification, MDCN Technologies, which created NeoRhythm, stated: “MDCN Technologies is not a licensed medical or health care company with no expertise in diagnosis, examination, treatment, and does not provide medical services.” “The product is designed to help people out of trouble, and no one can use it for commercial purposes.” “
The side effects of this technology remain largely to explore
Some worry that for some mental health problems that require intensive treatment, the technology may only lead to a short-term improvement. There is also concern that people who don’t like to treat their mental illness may also use the technology as an alternative, which could lead them to abandon other options altogether and make their condition worse.
There are other potentially more dangerous risks. Our bodies actually operate based on tiny currents: our hearts, for example, use tiny currents to beat. It is not clear what long-term harm the use of electromagnetic therapy can cause, especially given that these devices do not require doctor’s approval and can lead to other potential health problems. If you use a pacemaker, insulin pump, or are pregnant, this treatment needs to be absolutely avoided.
Changing your mood with technology may seem like a simple stopgap, but buying an unknown device that has not been verified by a medical professional can be dangerous. Fortunately, however, there is no such thing as “brain hackers”, another marketing term they call it.