“I never liked the word ‘stress’”

Jeff Povlo works at RESET: a product and service designed to allow people to be more conscious and actively affect their stress levels in a positive way. “We have designed a pod that is linked to different scientifically proven stress reduction methods. Wearing sensors on their head and heart, the pod assesses which form of stress reduction works best for the visitor.”

“By linking the biosensors to our physical spaces, we can provide feedback for what types of stress reduction methods offer the most impact and enhance the user’s stress relief efficiency. Users are given this feedback together with their Reset Index—which indicates their body’s overall resilience to stress and which experiences are most impactful.  The tracking and feedback is called the Reset Index.  We also use the data to personalize what happens inside the pods. It is an immersive experience. When you go in there, you can be an active participant.”

 

Sound and Intimacy

“We were in Italy at Salone di Mobile, the largest design fair in the world. We were invited by the organization to showcase a prototype to compliment their ‘A Joyful Workplace’ theme.  We selected Sound and Intimacy as two of the scientifically proven stress reduction experiences to feature - one that requires active participation and one that is more passive for the visitor.”

“The Intimacy design experience refers to prenatal memories in the womb creating a feeling of ultimate security—a warm embrace.  The user does need to do anything to interact with the space; the space does the work for them.  We used the visitor’s actual heartbeat to integrate into the interactive sound and lighting.  We could then make the heartbeat slow down to test if it had a calming effect on the user.”

“The Sound pod is a space where people could release energy while ultimately relaxing the mind and body.  From banging on an electric drumset to discovering sounds by touching the walls, this space was a fully reactive and interactive music environment.  It was a playful way to get out of the everyday routine. The response we got was amazing and people were incredibly enthusiastic. For me the big questions was: do people like this topic? Would they be interested in wearing sensors? People lined up for an hour to try it.”

 

Fight or flight

“We would like to see the pod in different work environments, any areas with high stress, such as financial institutions or hospitals. The need is massive. The problem we researched is physical as well as physiological: if we can make people more aware of their own stress levels, it can have a massive impact on their quality of life. We see this as a piece of the solution, not a solution on its own. We would only place these pods with companies who are actively supporting their employees, who work on a healthy culture, not just productivity.”

“I never liked the word ‘stress’ or how people talk about it – like a measurement of how busy they are, which is the wrong way. First I wanted to build an environment where people could break things, based on the fight or flight response to stress. But this goes beyond that. By doing research, we got a sense of how big this problem is, it’s enormous. So many people have burnouts, the costs are huge. ”

“For us it was really important to talk to a lot of people about what think about stress, how they talk about it. People were interested in what the body could tell them. That consciousness would already help. People forget to take breaks, they don’t stop.”

 

Challenging assumptions

“We looked at how we could build something for stress reduction, how we could develop an environment that has an element of play but was still inviting. We chose a teardrop shape for the pods, big enough to stretch out but small enough to reach everything. Like the Vitruvian man of Da Vinci. We developed the pod with my company, Scape together with UNStudio, who defined the form and experience.”

“We developed the prototype and demonstrated the idea. Now we take a step back and together with HealthInc, we look at the value proposition, the business, the idea, the channels. We are defining a way forward. The program has been great. It’s an opportunity for me to dedicate time to it, challenge my own assumptions. I’m working with people I respect because they have done it before. HealthInc and AHTI are well connected in the health industry, that’s another big reason I’m here. The network stimulates us to move forward, and we rely on AHTI’s experience to help with that.”

 

Jeff Povlo RESET HealthInc startup ahti

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