Health IT

This wearable developer wants to analyze your autonomic nervous system

A physician and co-founder of Rijuven, which secured FDA clearance for developing a digital accessory for the stethoscope has moved into the wearables market. Dr. Raj Kapoor is working with co-founder Evens Augustin, a Carnegie Mellon University Biomedical Engineer, and a a group of researchers, on a wearable called Rejiva that uses sensors to capture […]

A physician and co-founder of Rijuven, which secured FDA clearance for developing a digital accessory for the stethoscope has moved into the wearables market. Dr. Raj Kapoor is working with co-founder Evens Augustin, a Carnegie Mellon University Biomedical Engineer, and a
a group of researchers, on a wearable called Rejiva that uses sensors to capture information on vital signs such as ECG,  heart rate variability, respiratory rate, and sleep position, to develop insights in how users can manage their health better. It kicked off a campaign on Indiegogo this week to raise $50,000 to bring its wearable to market.

Its monitor attaches to the skin all day and has a companion app that gives users information to better understand how their body responds yo stress, for example, as well as the amount of sleep they get. The company claims its Rejiva wearable uses sensors and algorithms to analyze the state of the Autonomic Nervous System. It’s interesting for a company to make that claim because the functions of ANS are i.Until now, involuntary — responses like fight or flight and rest and digest trigger several different things in the body that affect the heart and digestive system among other things.

A company statement said:

“This is the part of the nervous system that involuntarily controls the organs and systems of the body. Since the ANS helps the body adapt to both internal and environmental demands by maintaining a physiologic balance, it is the “first to know” of any unforeseen issues that could affect one’s overall health.”

The idea is the wearable can analyze the user’s information to show them ideal times for exercise, how to reduce stress and how to sleep better. But what makes me skeptical about this wearable is its claim that it can slow the biological aging process. The moments when it highlights this point in the video, the user is looking very closely at their skin. So if the anti-aging advice is things like avoid spending a lot of time in the sun, cutting out cigarettes or getting more sleep, most people don’t need a $99 wearable to tell them that.

It is not at all surprising that Rijuven is keen to move into the wearables market. Investor interest in wearables is significant — a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report calculated that investors allocated $200 million to the wearables market as of mid 2014. By the end of this year, the report projects that wearable companies will have shipped 7.6 million devices in in the U.S. market alone. But it will be interesting to see whether Rejiva’s developers can distinguish themselves enough for consumers to buy into it and what, if any, clinical applications they may find for it.