Pebble-shaped CalmingStone is designed to combat anxiety

Katie | November 21, 2016

New Zealand-based designer Ramon Telfer has launched the CalmingStone, a handheld device that uses bio-feedback to reduce anxiety, on Kickstarter.

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The device comprises a handheld device shaped like a large pebble which uses biofeedback to help people manage anxiety – through a copper ring that measures the user’s heart-rate, an internal light source that creates a pulsing glow that allows the user to “tune into their body”, and a set of wireless headphones, through which are delivered a series of calming guided meditations.

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Ramon developed a prototype for the product two years ago, having experienced Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) first hand. “I can safely say after six years of anxiety and panic attacks things do get tough,” he says. Realising that there were no products on the market, besides medication, to help those with anxiety, he decided to develop one. “In 2014 I was struck with an idea to combine my industrial design background with my personal experiences in mental health to create something special.”

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Ramon teamed up with partner and co-founder Alex Johnson, with whom he had developed a series of coping strategies for his own anxiety, to bring his idea to life. “We want people to talk about their minds the same way they talk about their bodies,” she says, calling for the de-stigmatisation of mental health issues. “Sharing experiences and insights is so powerful in normalising the conversation. We’ve developed the Calmingstone to empower people to feel in control, whether they’re an athlete preparing for a game or someone who is just feeling the pressure from everyday life.”

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“Because stress is very real and life is a fully tactile, sensory experience we have created and evolved our learnings into a beautiful, intimate product that anyone can hold, feel and listen to,” adds Ramon.

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Taking inspiration from nature, the smooth, pebble-like form of the device fits into the user’s hand. An integrated copper ring works as a heart-rate sensor, triggering a pulsing glow that reflects the user’s current heart rate. This responsive pulse enables the user to see their body’s reaction to stress, and watch their pulse slow as they relax. A series of audio recordings, delivered via wireless headphones, talks them through the process with guided meditations and interactive experiences designed to complement the sensory experience delivered by the device. In addition, the Calmingstone wirelessly syncs to a full collection of specifically-designed relaxing and empowering audio tracks created by experts around the world. Users can also access personal bio-feedback, session data and a progress tracker – allowing them to feel in complete control.

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Clinical Psychologist, Sam O’Sullivan says the Calmingstone gives “an instant experience of calm” – not a bad endorsement.

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Ramon and Alex are hoping to raise $10,000 (NZD) on Kickstarter to get the CalmingStone into production.

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Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.

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