Road to Slush #2: Big things and small details

 

My mailbox is filling up with Slush related material. Got to be careful not to pass anything important. Have to say, things have improved in past ten years in this – some while back all these emails would have been titled “Slush”. Title setting nowadays is extremely informative, saves a lot of trouble.

Setting up meetings with investors has been the one big and important thing and seems to be well in track now. The video´s final edit uploaded to system, just waiting for confirmation that the encoding really is the right one.

Other equally important things: the dress for entering the stage – check! (Thanks to Milla). Here a picture of another detail, that might be small but surprisingly useful:

nipistin_akryyli_1009_180

 

Road to Slush #1 : Visible but rocky start

 

Its one week to the 2nd day of Slush, when we will have a stand for demoing and a presentation on the black stage. There is a lot of excitement in the air.

The great news is that we got superb press from Good News From Finland! and were featured as one of the health companies to look out for at Slush.

But always something… Last Thursday we noticed some problems at our website. Our front page started to show orange colors (instead of the Moodmetric green), font sizes started changing, and sometimes the server would give a 500-Internal Server Error. As these problems became more frequent, we decided we had to move web hosts to a company that would be more reliable and with faster website load times.

There has been a lot of work in preparing the needed materials. Most of it is now in order: flyers and business cards are on their way, the roll-up canvas is being printed and just found the right color t-shirts. Still things to tick off the list!

Mood and Myself

Am I entitled to good moods or doomed to endless worries and stress? Many times it feels I can´t enjoy my time too much, because people and the things around me are not in a optimal state. The car needs repair, the pile of work deliverables is too high, mother´s birthday party is yet to be organized – and the kids – their needs are acute, end-of-the-world type and expressed very loudly.

Where can the happy me be in the middle of this? How to switch to a good mood after someone spilled juice on clean laundry – or even stay in good mood while it happens. Impossible. And as to having a wider scope; there is so much suffering in the world, I do deserve to have my daily load of cry, being late, having trouble of all sorts and as a consequence – bad mood. The most I can do is to hope the next day will be brighter.

But what if those seemingly happier people are right when their advice is to find the things you enjoy, bring them into your life, take a moment to yourself and stand above the little nuisances that will evidently happen? Should I give it a try?

The sun just started shining (it really did), I take it as a sign and decide to apply some new approaches today: I will walk outside for at least 20 minutes, not hurrying. I will enjoy a good lunch – in peace, if possible. If things at work do not go well, I will regardless find two positive things that day. If the kids get a hysterical attack, I will sneak out to my chocolate stash and have a small piece. Then I hold them and sing them their favorite songs until they calm down.

What does the future of meditation look like?

Today’s blog post is about the future of meditation and the possibilities that wearables such as the Moodmetric ring present.

One of the main reasons that people don’t meditate (other than lack of time) is that they don’t know how and are unsure if they are doing it right. With the advancement of technology there have been several steps towards overcoming these obstacles.  The introduction of meditation audio tapes made meditation easier and affordable since it wasn’t necessary to find someone to teach you meditation. The internet and meditation apps have naturally continued this transformation of making meditation more accessible.

Dan Harris highlights (in the video below) the science behind meditation and predicts that meditation will be the next big public health revolution. I believe that wearable technology such as the Moodmetric ring will be a part of this transformation by making it easier to track meditation sessions and by providing feedback.

 

 

Example meditation with the Moodmetric ring meditation app

Below is a screenshot of a 10-minute meditation I did after spending over 10 hours helping out at a video shoot for our upcoming campaign. Its worth pointing out that the final version of the app will look different, and the algorithms and accuracy will still be improved. This session was on the train ride on my way home, using mindfulness meditation (i.e. concentrating on my breath), and with gentle sounds of waves coming out of my headphones.The total score I received for the session from our algorithm is 78.6/100, which is my best one so far as I just recently re-started meditating.

meditation

When our current algorithm for measuring meditation is started, the first few minutes are spent making adjustments so that the rest of the data will be as accurate as possible. After 3 minutes you can start to see the effects of thoughts entering my mind as I am entering a meditative state. Especially after 8 minutes there is a significant drop in my meditative state, which was caused by an announcement that I was only two trains stops away from my home station. This prompted a thought: “did I remember to set the timing of the meditation correctly?” to come into my head, but I was able to let this go fairly quickly.

What do you think? Would you like to track your meditation sessions in this way?  Are wearables going to change the popularity of meditation?

P.S. This blog will have a lot more awesome content related to meditation in the future. If you are interested get on the newsletter (on the right side of this post) and follow us on twitter.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

Friendliness, empathy and striving to understand the thoughts of others is natural to us as humans as we do not develop without social relationships.

Recent research shows that emotions are more important to both individuals and societies than previously thought.

Emotions are needed for:

– when under threat (fear, suspicion)

– when there is a need to stand up for oneself or others (anger, furiosity)

– prioritising tasks and people (liking, dislike, irritation)

– making right decisions (we are at our sharpest when emotional charge is biggest)

– improving memory (all positive feelings)

– to connect with others (love, caring)

Emotional intelligence was first brought up in scientific discussion by American researchers Peter Salovey and John Mayer. It became widely known with a book by Daniel Goleman, published in 1995: Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ.

Emotions reveal how you are doing

People tend to start analysing themselves and their behaviour most often within a state of crisis, not after a pondered decision. When the surroundings became unbearable and the person can no longer adapt, an analysis process starts. During this anguish hasty decisions are made that might be regretted afterwards: getting a divorce, quitting a job, selling the house.

On the other hand, positive decisions often follow when one´s feelings are analysed with intelligence. This thinking can be improved by literature, courses or discussions with people trained on the subject.

Analysis of one´s feelings need to take into consideration both the physical and mental dimension. What happens when I get furious? Do I feel like bursting to pieces? What about when I feel happy – how does that feel? Regulation of feelings means the possibility to knowingly affect how long and how strong the feeling is. We can get rid of, or reduce the power of unpleasant feelings and find ways to increase the occurrence of positive ones.

Feelings need to be felt, not suppressed. However, understanding one´s feeling mechanism the emotions can be tackled when they are just about to rise to the surface: Do I let myself get raving mad now?

Emotional intelligence does not equal logic-rational thinking: a person might be a famous mathematician and still unable to start a discussion with a stranger. Western thinking inclines to recognise only certain types of intelligence and this is enforced in schools. A Pre-schooler would name a housewife as an example of an intelligent person, later possibly a director of a big company.

What are the benefits of developing one´s Emotional intelligence?

– understanding emotions of yourself and others

– reacting correctly in social interaction

– coping in surprising or unpleasant situations

– finding concensus

– building a better life with your partner

– helping development of your children´s socio-emotional skills

A high performing person needs a wide set of skills and emotional intelligence is a powerful tool in pursuing any goal.

Based on a book by Mikael Saarinen, Marja Kokkonen: Tunneäly (Emotional intelligence)

 

How can the Moodmetric ring support development of Emotional intelligence?

Recognizing feelings can start with the help of the Moodmetric ring.  Simply by understanding the moments of the day when emotions are the strongest and calmest can help in building emotional intelligence. The Moodmetric ring shows current emotional state and records your emotional past for later review. Understanding how certain times of the day or situations affected your emotional levels help towards further development of emotional intelligence.

 

Science behind the Moodmetric ring

Emotional sensations such as excitement, happiness, anger and joy often involve a physical response, such as the heart pulsating with fear or the stomach lurching from anxiety.

Many of these physical reactions are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, a branch of the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary body responses such as blood flow and digestion. The sympathetic nervous system is activated with controlling the body’s fight-or-flight reactions. When facing a threat, these responses automatically prepare your body to flee from danger or face the threat head-on.

When experiencing an emotion the sweat glands in the palm react and skin conductance increases. This phenomenon can ne measured and is known as electrodermal activity (EDA), skin conductance response (SCR) or alternatively as galvanic skin response (GSR). The Moodmetric ring detects the changes in skin and shows the emotion level changes in relation to user´s personal threshold values.

The measurement has been used in scientific study for over a hundred years. The Moodmetric ring data has been verified against scientific equipment, indicating high correlation and thus the ring is a reliable EDA measurement device.

 

The Story of Moodmetric

Our inventor Henry Rimminen, Ph.D., came up with the idea of implementing the standard electrodermal activity measurement with a ring in 2011.

The measurement technique itself was widely known but had mainly been in use in laboratories and universities. Consumer versions had been either bulky or not optimized to give meaningful data in a clear format.

Our dream was to provide everyone access to reliable emotion data. From the beginning we wanted to make a beautiful ring to wear in everyday life. It was also important for us that for the first time a wearable would show live emotion data in an easy-to-interpret way. Additionally we wanted to provide a simple yet accurate tool for stress measurement.

IMG_0135

Henry´s development work started with a fun prototype and PC software. The first experiments started with a ring wired to a circuit board made of wood.

For the first wireless prototype, the electronics were stuffed in a party ring with lots of glue. These electronics still work today — it’s the device with a cord in the picture.

Soon after, Henry made several 3D-printed “death star” models using a flexible ring. The ring’s flex structure was easy to damage, but the signal quality amazed everyone.

death_star_in_action[1]

The next development was a round model with a metallic ring. The ring part came in three sizes. It was quite heavy and spun easily, but was fully functional and very robust.

After a complete re-engineering of the PCB, Henry came up with the long and narrow model with a metal ring. It was very lightweight and fit the finger perfectly. There were contact issues with the steel chosen and battery life was low. However this prototype was the basis for the current commercial version.

rivi

For the final ring we brought in a jewelry designer – Vesa Nilsson from OZ Jewel in Helsinki. The perfect shape of the Moodmetric ring was born thanks to him.

3D-printed models were used to verify proper ring attachment and finger fit. This beta version features long battery life and significantly faster charging than any of the earlier models. It is splash proof and people love it!