The Pip from Galvanic Ltd. in Dublin, Ireland is a new product designed to use biofeedback to help you monitor and relieve stress. It is not a wearable product, but is small and mobile enough to qualify. The device looks a bit like an over-sized guitar pick, which you hold between your thumb and forefinger. Electrodes on either side are used to measure your galvanic skin response (GSR) which can be used as an indication of your stress level. GSR is one of the biometrics used in lie detectors, so there is plenty of precedent for this application.

The Pip communicates with your iOS or Android device using Bluetooth technology, and the company provides a number of apps. One is a fairly traditional dashboard display that tracks your stress levels throughout the day and from day to day. The app pictured above starts with a frozen winter scene, and as you relax, the ice melts and the leaves start to sprout. This gives you visual and audible feedback about your state of relaxation. The company also offers a race app in which your racer goes faster the more you relax. (I’d have to try that to see how effective that is, because it sounds counter-intuitive.) The sensor works best when you are seated and calm, and not immediately after physical exertion where extra sweat on your fingers could confuse the results.

You can buy the Pip from the company website or on Amazon for just under $180, which strikes me as a bit expensive. If this is an effective technology, I’d expect other wearable devices to incorporate GSR sensors as an added function. That would seem to be a more affordable approach than to create a stand-alone single function device like the Pip.