Startup developing a hardware product

mock-up_transparent_background

Productizing means bringing a new product, service or feature from an idea to a commercial product. Even something seemingly simple, say a shovel, needs countless steps from the first sketch to a shop.

The Moodmetric Ring is an embedded system, i.e. an equipment guided by an in-built computer, in this case a processor. It has required the development of the measurement system, the ´computer´ and the software guiding the measurement. All this is a significant amount of work in addition to building up the hardware of chosen components.

When a product, new version or feature is developed inside an existing organization, the resources are in place: you have the hardware development department, software/embedded software development department, prototype production line and a test laboratory filled with equipment specific for the needs of the particular industry.

In a startup there is normally nothing at all, just an idea. How is a complex development work possible?

The most important thing is the team: everyone should be top-tier and know absolutely the latest of relevant technology. There are no bosses or internal audits, all issues need to be discovered and managed within the team. For a product like the Moodmetric ring the knowledge of signal processing, biosensor technology, algorithm development and software development have been in great hands, which has enabled a leap that is hard to believe even when seeing it happening next to me.

There need to be third parties involved, small electronics and manufacturing shops for prototyping and development. A good network of local SME tech industry is always needed when starting of development of any device. Due to our backgrounds in engineering and manufacturing, this has been well covered.

The most important thing nro 2 is the customer. Which in the beginning is not yet there. The search for the customer needs to being at the same time as the idea of a product first crosses the inventor´s mind. Where, who? A startup likes often to keep the invention secret as long as possible, which certainly is wise. But without a customer feedback, the product will not hit it.

We found the initial customers very early. Then we found more customers, totally different demographic and market. And more.. This is maybe the most confusing time period: you develop the product, you make prototypes, you ask the customer opinions and all the time you are insecure are you heading to the right market. We just had to continue and take decisions on the way until we felt this is getting right.
A very important concept is the minimum viable product Eric Ries: The Lean Startup. This is the first concept to test with a real user, and does not have to look like the final product at all. Ours was like this:

eka2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For an architect an MVP can be a cardboard box and for a computer game developer a sketch. Just to test the initial idea and start collecting feedback from early on.

We have all worked in big organizations and it is very refreshing to develop a product in a startup mode. Again, no bosses, no internal audits, no bureaucracy (except for what you decide to implement), nothing formal, only the common objective and total freedom around it. When things are getting ready and there are more people and parties around, the freedom gradually gets less. Suddenly a startup realizes being a big organization and someone asks you to report your workhours in the ‘system’.

Moodmetric has decided to stay lean and follow the teachings of Vincit. Quoting their CEO Mikko Kuitunen: “When the headcount goes over 30, the people still remain intelligent enough to decide whether they need to buy a pencil or not.”

 

 

Where to measure electrodermal activity?

This article explains the difference of using a wristband or a ring to measure your emotional intensity levels.

Moodmetric rings

Many things can get you emotionally activated. A close by situation with a colliding car can certainly light all the inner alarm systems, but milder things can also cause strong emotional reactions: seeing your children after a school day, a victory of you favourite basketball team or forgetting to buy paper for your printer.

With any emotional activation, your skin reacts and becomes a better conductor of electricity. This can be resulting from emotional or other psychological causes. The phenomenon is known as the skin conductance response or electrodermal activity (EDA). You may also run into an older term called galvanic skin response.

Based on the scientific research there are only a few places in your body where the EDA can be measured accurately and easily: the palms and the soles of your feet. These are the places where human body has the highest density of eccrine sweat glands that response to the emotional stimuli. You can measure the EDA elsewhere as well but the reliability is not as high or as easily achieved.

We want to bring to the market a very reliable and accurate measurement of emotional activation and intensity that is available for everybody. The choice for having a beautiful jewelry ring as the measurement form was an easy one.

It provides the best optimal measurement data that can be detected from the palm side of wearer’s hand. A ring is also a natural thing to wear and can be used daily as any other jewelry. It is easy to forget that this small, beautiful and non-intrusive jewelry detects your emotional levels and helps you in your life with its data.

Moodmetric features: Scope and Wearing the ring

MoodScope curve

Scope tells about the instantaneous reactions of the wearer. When you feel something, your autonomous nervous system reacts and small changes can be measured from your skin.

The Moodmetric Ring detects the changes that can be followed online with the smartphone app. All the reactions cause an upward jump on the Scope, the bigger the emotion, the higher the curve goes. The physical response delay is 1.5 seconds, so the jump is visible 1.5 s after seeing a ghost… Continue reading “Moodmetric features: Scope and Wearing the ring”

What is moodtech? – Science behind Moodmetric

Moodmetric measures the electrodermal activity (EDA) of the skin, which is widely adopted in psychological research 1. EDA is generated by activity of the sweat glands.  Moodmetric measures the palmar skin on your finger. The palmar skin is the recommended EDA measurement location, since it has the highest sweat gland density2.

The unconscious actions of the human body are regulated by the autonomic nervous system. It consists of the sympathetic part and the parasympathetic part. The parasympathetic part controls the body’s rest-and-digest functions and the sympathetic part controls fight-or-flight reactions. When bodily functions are not of interest and the emotional side is, sympathetic nervous system is your choice.

The sweat glands are exclusively innervated by the sympathetic nervous system. This makes EDA an ideal measure for sympathetic activation.2 Electrodermal activity correlates to general emotional intensity, negative emotion, concern, and anxiety. 1, 3 These emotions cause almost similar electrodermal responses, which makes them very hard to differentiate. However, Moodmetric will tell you if certain parts of your day have brought up emotions or not. Inversely, Moodmetric tells you weather you are calm or not. This is particularly useful during your mindfulness, meditation and other calming exercises.

Mobile EDA devices have been used by scientists for some time2, 4, and now we bring this technology within everyone´s reach.

Signal accuracy

The signal accuracy has been proven in a study of 24 people by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health by J. Torniainen et al.. The accuracy against a laboratory grade reference was found to be 83 %. They conclude:

“Clearly the ring sensor can be used to measure a valid EDA signal as indicated by the similarity of both event-related responses and the calculated features. The accuracy of the Moodmetric EDA Ring is adequate for psychological and physiological research when weighted against the advantage of conducting ecologically valid experiments outside laboratory conditions.”

The results have been accepted for publication in the 2015 conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC 2015, August 25-29).

Our measurement has been proven to be accurate also by University of Tampere, Finland. The correlation with the reference equipment Nexus-10-MK II was good. Comparison details in charts below.

image1 image2 image3 image4

1 Mendes, W.B. (2009). Assessing the autonomic nervous system. In: Harmon-Jones   E. ja Beer J.S. Methods in social neuroscience. New York: Guilford Press. p. 118-147.

2 Setz C., Arnrich B., Schumm J. and La R. (2010) Discriminating Stress From Cognitive Load Using a Wearable EDA Device. IEEE Trans. Inf. Technol. Biomed. 14(2). p. 410-417.

3 Nikula R. (1991) Psychological correlates of nonspecific skin conductance responses. Psychophysiology. 28(1). p.86-90.

4 Poh M.Z, Swenson N.C. and Picard R.W. (2010) A Wearable Sensor for Unobtrusive, Long-Term Assessment of Electrodermal Activity. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng. 57(4). p. 1243-1252.

 

Would you like to get all the Moodmetric news? Click here to sign up on our Newsletter!

 

What a Slush!

What a terrific experience! Thank you Slush and all the people that visited our booth.

We got a lot on interesting feedback, lots of positive media attention, and many initial steps of cooperation were taken with companies in the health&well-being  market.

We had a constant queue for the demo and competition, which turned out to be even more exciting than we thought. The lowest emotional intensity score was reached by Hannu Hamari with an amazing result of 2/100. Congratulations!

The highest score was certainly reached by myself when entering on Black stage for the product launch. The stage was huge and what I could see from the spotlights was a large crowd of people interested in health and wellbeing. Thanks to our director Jonathan Clabburn for the great launch video, and Ella, Jaakko, Mikeal and Vesa who brought the film to life in front of the camera!

Road to Slush #4: Mood for Slush

 

Looking very bright indeed! It has been a huge amount of work done by the whole team to have everything ready for Slush, now after final checks the things seem to be in order. It all requires ups and downs of emotions as every bigger task in life, but finally the feeling is satisfaction over a great achievement.

See you all in Slush!  At our booth 2.09 on Wednesday you can try the Moodmetric Ring, measure your Mood Metrics and participate in a competition, please be welcome!

See here is my mood data from today, surprisingly calm up until now:

IMG_1302 (1)