Anxiety tech: How the latest smart products aim to settle our unease

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These days we can take our own blood pressure, check our own heart rate, test our own urine and so on, accumulating vital data that will enable us to improve our health and well-being and ultimately prevent disease.

We all want to live as long as possible. Not only that – we also want to protect those around us as much as we can so that they can live as long as possible too. It seems that in our efforts to make this happen we are willing to splash quite a bit of cash, and a whole new wave of products are coming to market in the form of ‘anxiety tech’.

But self-quantification is only half the story – now we can quantify our children, too.

Being the parent of a newborn baby is a particularly anxious time. Cue a raft of tech to answer all the questions that new parents have to reassure them and reduce their anxiety.

The Owlet smart sock tracks the baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels and notifies parents if levels fall outside of a preset range. According to the company’s website 96% of parents report reduced anxiety as they feel that they don’t have to be constantly checking in on their baby to see if something’s wrong.

Anxiety tech for babies
Owlet Smart Sock

Similarly, the Bluebell smart monitoring system enables parents to monitor their baby’s breathing, temperature, position, crying, sleep and activity, while receiving alerts to a wristband and mobile app as well as ‘personalised guidance’. They can also monitor the baby’s environment and check room temperature via the smart hub, as well as control night-time brightness.

Being able to control our immediate environment in order to remove any threat to health is an area of growth for anxiety tech.

Now there are products that assess the quality of indoor air and monitor the presence of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and radon. Devices like the Dyson Pure Cool can even set about purifying the air for you.

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Dyson Pure Cool

The widespread use of anxiety tech does raise some questions.

For instance, with smartphone ‘addiction’ and incessant checking of emails and social media already a problem, might having a proliferating amount of data to check regarding ourselves, our children, and even our pets actually increase anxiety overall?

And how does the act of constantly monitoring potentially threatening aspects of our surroundings affect the way we view the world? These are elements that will require reviewing over time.

But what is there here for brands to take away?

Most of us have experienced that anxiety associated with trawling Google for answers to symptoms of health problems, and technology that allays many of these fears clearly has its benefits.

Life is challenging, and products that go some way towards enabling the user to take control by having questions answered and problems solved are appealing.

But there’s more to it than that. Living as long as possible is one thing – products that allow the user to live a safer, less stressful life for as long as possible, is another.

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