There are many sayings about money not being able to buy you happiness. While every individual chooses to pursue happiness a different way, there are certain chemicals in the body that promote happiness and mental well-being. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters and they elicit feelings of accomplishment, serenity and focus. The rise of wearables will allow people to induce the body to produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. In short, you will be able to literally buy happiness.
At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, wearables took center stage. One of these wearables, Muse, is worn on the head and monitors brain activity while taking you through a meditation session with calming nature sounds. In addition, if Muse senses too much brain activity, they have a refocusing mechanism in the form of gusty winds. Muse also comes with a companion smartphone app and costs $299. It seeks to gamify happiness—the calmer the session, the more points you earn, and you are also rewarded for using the wearable and the app regularly.
Nervana, a Florida-based company, uses the power of music to help you relax. It has customized earbuds that tap a nerve called the vagus nerve, which is connected to the brain’s pleasure center and stimulates the production of neurotransmitters, and can even help with the treatment of epilepsy. It’s also been reported that stimulating the vagus nerve treats severe depression when traditional methods have failed. The best part about Nervana is that it works well with any genre of music. The device also costs $299 and will be available this summer.
Go Flow, from foc.us, has a more interesting history—the company was part of a controversial technology called transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), a form of neurostimulation which uses a constant low current delivered to a targeted area of interest via electrodes on the scalp. While tDCS has been researched at length to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and strokes, the results are still inconclusive. Foc.us has been targeting the gaming market due to the rise of competitive gaming. The Go Flow products also target athletes, and these products range between $3.50 to $300 depending on your needs.
One report from Entrepreneur showed that wearable tech is actually improving employee productivity and happiness. Productivity went up by at least 8.5 percent, and happiness up by 3.5 percent. However, these “happiness wearables” also raise several questions regarding mental and physical health. Could these wearables replace the need to go to a therapist completely? Could they be used to treat certain conditions, and how effectively can a person be treated using wearables alone? Could one get addicted to neurotransmitting wearables? These are just some of the questions that arise when your product literally sells chemical happiness.