As any Yoga practitioner will tell you, developing proper breathing practices is integral to a healthy life. According to the Daily Mail, proper breathing can reduce stress levels, improve workouts and boost a person's immune system. But developing good habits can be tough, unless you can get your hands on the new Puck.
The Arizona-based startup Zenytime created this Android and iOS accessory that allows players to play mobile games in the company's app with their breath. This little sensor, which picks up heart rate, blood oxygen levels and controlled breathing, is meant to be breathed on and held to take readings. Then it can be dropped in a bag or pocket. The $79 puck talks to your phone via Bluetooth 4.0, and the app will be available in the App Store and Google Play Store. And while pre-ordering is available now, units aren't expected to be delivered until Winter 2015.
The goal is to use the games as a breathing coach. Each game is designed to use breathing methods to win. The company claims that controlled and conscious breathing can lead to higher cardiovascular health, improved cognitive function, lower stress levels and an stronger immune system, among other things.
"Our games have been designed to promote deep, rhythmic breathing to bring more oxygen into your cells and to trigger the many short-term rewards of controlled breathing," said co-founder Celine Vignal in a statement. "Zenytime games are adapted to people of any age, as well as exercise enthusiasts and professional athletes."
Zenytime claims to have consulted a number of qualified advisors on the project, including pathologist Dr. Melissa Conrad Stoppler, who is the chief medical editor for eMedicineHealth.com; psychologists Dr. Jim Taylor, who is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco; and Ultramarathon Man Dean Karnazes. Zenytime says they are still working with leaders in the yoga, fitness and health community to make the best games that serve their needs.
Using games to teach people to breathe properly is an intriguing concept. After all, games have been shown to be useful tools for teaching habits and skills. However, we're unsure about whether the games Zenytime is developing will actually be fun or worth playing. We'll be keeping our eye on this.