“Pip” – Video Games That Help You Monitor and Handle Stress

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As a recovering video game addict, I know that games are a great way to get distracted from the daily grind, but it wouldn’t necessarily relieve stress – playing the Grand Theft Auto or Resident Evil series used to leave my heart pounding out of my chest.

PIP — which stands for ‘personal input pod’ — is a Bluetooth biosensor that monitors your stress levels by measuring your galvanic skin response (palm sweat) as you hold the PIP pinched between thumb and forefinger.

Basically it measures how sweaty you’re getting, and therefore how nervous you’re feeling.

PIP works with with iOS and Android phone and tablet apps to provide a gamification element.  The user’s stress level is incorporated into currently three games as the core gameplay mechanic — with the ultimate aim being to help the player learn what they need to do to relax.  The video games won’t involve running from zombies or competition as you’d normally expect.  Instead Pip is designing stress-busting games.  A relaxing racing game, a seasonal mood game where  players meditate on a wintery scene to turn it into spring, and a lie-detector multi-player game — but it also plans to get third party developers, expanding the PIP’s gaming ecosystem.  If the device’s startup company, Galvanic can convince enough people to buy in to the gadget and thus lure enough outside developers to join in, there’s plenty of potential for other cool bio-sensing software ideas.

The price per PIP is $79 for a limited number of early bird Kickstarter backers, or $99 thereafter. Presumably each new PIP-compatible game may also carry a consumer price-tag.  Galvanic is gunning for $100,000 in Kickstarter funding, with the money to be used for finalising manufacturing and readying its own apps.  In the future it plans to expand platform support beyond Android and iOS, to add Windows Phone, Blackberry, Windows, MacOS and also game Consoles and set-top boxes.

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