Touchwaves: technology that touches lives
Feeling the Benefits of Breathwork
From PTSD to stuttering. From high blood pressure to recovery from strokes. From anxiety attacks to pain management. From COPD to coping with the stress of everyday life. An ever-increasing amount of scientific research concludes that breathwork – rhythmic, controlled breathing in various patterns – can be the key to better quality of life and improved health outcomes. Today, a TNO spin-off is combining high tech and high touch in a way that makes the benefits of breathwork accessible. The MYSA shirt can significantly enhance people’s physical, mental and emotional resilience.
Tech that touches lives
The Touchwaves spin-off began at TNO at Holst Centre, where experts found countless applications for their innovative, printed, flexible electronics. Among them are human-centric wearables like Touchwaves’s innovative MYSATM shirt, whose original objective was to assist in stress reduction. Now, as the founders of Touchwaves further develop the technology, the potential applications span far beyond relief from the repercussions of stress. They now include the hundreds of millions of people coping with anxiety, PTSD and other conditions that disrupt their daily lives. New applications for breathwork emerge daily for a wide range of conditions.
Small-scale prototyping of the shirt has proven successful among a group of around 80 clinical professionals, therapists and users. The founding team will produce the first 100 MYSA shirts in early 2024 and is ready to establish validation projects with therapists, respiratory experts, physicians and other specialists. All to gain traction in the market and aim to make breathwork and body awareness a part of therapeutic treatments for everything from speech impediments to chronic pain.
'Touchwaves’ three founders all experienced first-hand how dedicated breathwork and body awareness could help them deal with conditions like chronic headaches, anxiety, hyperventilation and panic attacks. With MYSA, we empower others to experience these benefits and support them in their journey to conquer similar challenges.'
The power of haptics
The MYSA shirt is embedded with small, flexible vibrating motors that mimic the patterns of breathing techniques clinically proven to aid in stress reduction or medical therapies. An easy-to-use app helps wearers select from three pre-programmed breathing patterns – for relaxation, focus or continuous energy. But the MYSA shirt can also be programmed with specific breathing patterns for targeted therapies, and each program can be personalised for vibration intensity levels and breathing rate.
Unlike apps, smartwatches or other external stimuli, the MYSA shirt combines the science behind breathwork with the ease and comfort of touch on the body. Wearers can literally feel the shirt’s vibrations, which intuitively guide them towards slower and deeper breathing patterns and more body awareness. MYSA is always available, hands-free, screen-free and discreet, as it is worn as a base layer underneath the clothes. Wearers can therefore discreetly learn and follow the proper breathing patterns more closely, and receive non-disruptive reminders that can enable better adherence to needed breathwork activities.
Industry attention and partnerships
Touchwaves, now an independent organisation in the early days of development, is the first TNO innovation to be selected for both a spin-off and to participate in an iMec.istart.nl Acceleration Programme. The Touchwaves team is collaborating with Dutch academic institutes including Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology and Fontys, as well as TNO, TracXon, 2M, NTT, Multitude and more. Touchwaves is not only seeking pilot partners with whom to test their new batch of MYSA shirts, but also new investors eager to bring this potentially life-changing technology to those who need it most.
With a wealth of information at our fingertips, people are better informed than ever before. But the founders of Touchwaves believe that people have lost their mind/body connection: an understanding of the impact of our physical self on our emotional and mental well-being. So-called ‘Body Intelligence’ can help people regain that connection and improve their overall health by leading with their body in mind. And MYSA can be the key.
In addition to the MYSA shirt, Touchwaves is also working on a next-generation, closed-loop smart shirt that combines haptic breathing guidance with sensors that provide the input for the vibration motors. This shirt will alert the wearer in real time and guide them to an appropriate breathing pattern.
Want to know how you can contribute to bringing MYSA and other smart wearables to hundreds of millions of people who need it? Contact TNO today to find out more.
Problem: Anxiety significantly and regularly disrupts daily life for 1 in 4 individuals.
Findings: High demand for ways to address anxiety:
- 75% have sought help, 25% have utilised products or services.
- People seek an accessible solution for everyday support and guidance when professional help isn't available.
- Breathing support is valued by 68%.
- Security and companionship are sought by 63%.
- MYSA is shown to add value by enabling otherwise challenging activities and providing a sense of control and peace of mind.