Lower your stress in a heartbeat

Photo of Emma Dulski
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Website or social media url(s) (optional):

https://www.instagram.com/unwind_ | instagram @unwind_ igg.me/at/unwind18

Date Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

As three high schoolers in an academically rigorous environment, we realized that there was a large need at our school for students to find a time to relax and calm down before giving large presentations or even before sending important emails. The idea originated to help alleviate social anxiety but it has grown much larger to address everyone from fourth graders who fidget to businesspeople who have to prepare for important meetings.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Uwind began as a project to help our friends at school alleviate their social anxiety. After interviewing people in our community, we found that the steady rhythm of a heartbeat helped calm people who were in an anxious state so we programmed a vibration motor to simulate a pulse. We also added an LED that dims and brightens to help users maintain a steady breathing pattern. To eliminate the need for an external switch, the product has an accelerometer so the user only needs to turn it 90 degrees to switch between the three states: just vibration, vibration and LED, and off. Lastly, Unwind has induction charging to make it even more user friendly.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Right before a big class presentation, one of my friends came up to me with a worried look on her face. Even though I had seen her practice her presentation multiple times and complimented her excellent ideas and delivery, her social anxiety was preventing her from speaking in front of the class. We took a moment to breathe and relax before going into the classroom where she gave her presentation with only a few bumps. With Unwind, she would be able to enter stressful or anxiety-inducing situations independently, bringing her full confidence and personality.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Our product has four main advantages over its competitors: cost, subtlety, target market, and tangibility. First off, Unwind is much cheaper than other mindfulness technologies or apps with an estimated price of $35. Secondly, Unwind can be used easily in public places without inconveniencing the user or taking them out of their environment. Thirdly, our product can be used by everyone from small kids to adults, combining simplicity and elegance to make it more versatile. Lastly, Unwind is a tangible solution to stress and anxiety as opposed to a mental exercise or sound therapy.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Because we are still in the prototyping phase, our impact so far has been limited to our immediate community. Even with a limited audience, we have received extremely positive feedback that Unwind helps people feel calmer and more relaxed both in high-stress situations and in general. We hope to broaden the range of people we receive feedback from and adapt Unwind to ensure that it can help as many people as possible.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

In the near future, we would love to move our product to the manufacturing phase and reach out to psychologists and counselors to test Unwind in real life situations. We plan to conduct research on the effects of our product to quantify stress reduction.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

We have big plans for both the marketing and production side of Unwind. As we continue to refine the hardware, we hope to move on to manufacture Unwind to make it more accessible to others which requires quite a bit of funding. We ran an Indiegogo campaign recently that helped raise some money towards that goal but we would like to continue to reach out for contributions through grants and scholarships. In conjunction, we hope to expand our social media base and create a website to publicize Unwind to a larger audience. Lastly, we have recently added a member to our team who has experience with experimental design which will kickstart our scientific research goal.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

Especially in the Bay Area, there has been a large push for more mental health education in schools. Working with organizations like Safe Space, we can help advocate for mental heath awareness while providing a tangible solution to disorders such as social anxiety and ADHD.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Word of mouth


Join the conversation:

Photo of Brittany Corner

Public Speaking is one of the most common fears people face and I'm glad to see people addressing this issue.

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