Focusing all day every day isn’t an easy task for everyone. (Or anyone?) One Wake Forest-based startup is dedicated to helping others improve their attention span through the newest version of the world’s first focus-tracking watch.
Revibe Technologies announced the launch of the Revibe Connect on Jan. 15, the latest version of the watch that helps children and adults improve self-awareness and refocus when needed.
After being a school psychologist for many years, Rich Brancaccio, Founder and CEO of Revibe Technologies, came up with the idea for a wearable device that provides discreet reminders to keep users on track. The watch costs $149.95.
“It was originally conceived as something for kids but we quickly noticed we were selling to a lot of adults,” said Brancaccio. “We market to anyone who struggles to stay on task. We found out that a lot of the kids who were struggling also had parents who were struggling at work. So we realized there’s a whole other market to reach out to.”
The wearable-tech company began in December 2013, when it was awarded grants from NC IDEA and from Innovation Fund North Carolina in May 2014. Their original watch, the Revibe Classic, launched in late 2015 and costs $99.95. It was also created by Brancaccio and is currently used by ages 6 to 66 in tens of thousands of schools and homes across all 50 states.
The company also received a grant from the US Department of Education in 2017 to continue research on the benefits of machine learning combined with education. That’s on top of backing from firms like Cary’s Cofounders Capital and an investment by (and partnership with) Toronto’s Multi-Health Systems, a leading researcher and assessor of ADHD.
The updated device monitors movement, activity and fidgeting as a proxy for distraction and sends a soft vibration reminder, prompting the user to mindfully get back on-task. The advanced sensors also collect data on activity and behavior.
“In 2016 we received feedback and our customers asked for more data,” said Brancaccio. “Then we thought, how can we leverage that information to drive interventions with the users and provide them with more insight?”
The Revibe Connect is custom coded with original hardware and software. The watch is powered by a patent-pending machine learning algorithm that is customizable and continuously learns the user’s needs, adapting the frequency of reminders accordingly and sharing results via the new Revibe mobile app.
The more someone wears the watch, the smarter it becomes in knowing if the user will need more or less vibration, Brancaccio said.
It also starts to learn users’ schedules. The advanced sensors collect data on activity and behavior, which go into the watch’s data to make adjustments through the device’s new adaptive features.
“It [Revibe Connect] can realize for a child, for example, that they’re struggling in focusing on math based off their movement at that specific time on weekdays, but are doing well in social studies,” Brancaccio said. “So in the future, it will proactively change its own setting before the user goes to the class or subject. It changes in real time.”
Brancaccio said Revibe Connect takes feedback from the user and will ask them for feedback as well.
“Sometimes the watch will vibrate if you’re on-task,” Brancaccio said. “But you can tap twice to let it know you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, or tap it once so it knows you’re off-task and can use that information in the future to better understand the user.”
Since the tracker launched three weeks ago, Brancaccio continues to be laser-focused on his main goal: helping those who struggle to stay on task to focus by continuing to level the playing field through psychological and technological elements.