Not all Kickstarter campaigns are equal. A brush that lets you lick your cat? A “BarfSuit” with a built-in sick bag? A fan-cooled spoon? They’re all real campaigns. And then there are Kickstarter campaigns backed by clinical trials, such as Tully’s AI-powered bracelet designed to assist children with emotional awareness. While many kids could benefit from AI-driven help in identifying and managing their emotions, the bracelet may best meet the needs of children on the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) spectrum.
How does the bracelet work? According to Tully, the bracelet uses biometric sensors that measure the wearer’s heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen levels, and galvanic skin response (GSR) — a measure of electrical activity done through the skin’s sweat glands that can help to gauge the intensity of emotional experiences. Plus, the bracelet has an accelerometer and a gyroscope that track motion, offering insights into movements such as fidgeting or hyperactivity that may be signs of stress.
How is the biometric data used? Tully says it has created an AI algorithm based on an expansive database of hyperactive people that can learn the behavior patterns of the bracelet wearer. The algorithm can detect signs of agitation, and offer prompts to help guide behavior management with calming measures. If the bracelet senses that the child is reaching an elevated state, it emits a gentle vibration or a signal with a customizable LED light. The bracelet also sends data — intended for parents to view — via Bluetooth to a mobile app and then to Tully’s online platform that’s viewable as metrics, including a tracked agitation-score report.
What’s the evidence that the bracelet works? Tully, a Romanian startup, conducted a preliminary validation study with researchers and members of the psychology faculty at the public research institution Babeș-Bolyai University. For the study, which had a primary goal of testing the bracelet’s ability to detect stress and emotion, 15 children (10 of whom were diagnosed with ADHD) used the bracelets for 5 months. The results — which admittedly may include sponsor bias — showed a measurable difference in stress reaction between the children with ADHD and the control group. Further, the biometric data collected by the bracelets correlated with the agitated and hyperactive behavior that was observed.
Tully founder Adina Rus says, “Many children with ADHD understand their condition, and they don’t want to lose control. I realized that if we could somehow alert the kids before they reached threshold stress levels, they could avoid, or be helped to avoid the critical flashpoint.” Tully is taking orders for bracelets they estimate will ship around the end of 2022.