Image source: Hapbee

Choose how you feel, interview with Hapbee CEO Scott Donnell

Hapbee is an interesting wearable. It lets you choose whether to feel happy, calm, alert, focused, relaxed, sleepy and more – no chemicals needed.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

The gadget comes from a Seattle-based startup with the same name. Last month the outfit closed a very successful Indiegogo campaign which raised nearly half a million US dollars. The wearable is still available for purchase on the platform. Investing in a crowdfunded project is always risky by the 1,132 backers will be happy to know Hapbee is due to start shipping in the next few weeks.

The device really is one of a kind. A product for mental health and balance, Hapbee allows you to experience the feelings and sensations you desire. It does this through some high-tech which utilises electromagnetic frequency technology that mimic the effects of substances (coffee, melatonin, etc), along with patented proprietary algorithms.

To use simply pick the feeling you’d like to experience and set the strength of the signal in the smartphone app. Place Hapbee over the head, on the brim of a hat or around the neck and let it do its thing. You should feel the effects almost instantly.

choose how you feel interview with hapbee ceo scott donnell - Choose how you feel, interview with Hapbee CEO Scott Donnell
Image source: Hapbee

This certainly sounds like a useful little gadget. Imagine feeling down and depressed. Instead of the usual, unhealthy pickmeups, simply power-up Hapbee to give yourself a boost. It’s like a playlist for your feelings.

I sat down with Hapbee CEO Scott Donnell to find a bit more about the technology. He has some 10 years of experience building over 80 consumer products.

Can you give us a bit of background on Hapbee and how you came up with the idea? I understand there are 35 patents behind the technology. It must have been a number of years in the making?

I wish I could take credit for the technology, but I’m just the guy who is bringing this technology to the consumer market. I can make a sexy product and a clean app, but the scientists behind this are the real geniuses.

This technology is over 15 years in the making and was created by our sister company, EMulate Therapeutics, in Seattle, WA. They have been working in the ultra low Radio Frequency Energy (ulFRE) space using magnetometer technology to record and create magnetic fields that affect biology. They have some of the top scientists and PHDs in the fields of signal transduction, neuron biology and biophysics, including the person who led the science team to create Cialis. EMulate’s team created the IP and patents, and we are licensing and expanding specific signals from them that can affect moods and sensations in the body.

The promise is the device can help you feel happy, calm, relaxed, alert, focused, sleepy – on demand. It essentially allows a person to take control of their state of mind. Best of all, this is a drug free and chemical free solution.

What is the science behind this? How can electromagnetic signals alter a person’s state of mind?

Hapbee’s signals come from analytically measuring the electrostatic surface potential of specific molecules using some of the world’s most sensitive magnetometers and advanced signal processing. The electrostatic surface potential of a molecule is very important to its bioactivity. As surface charge moves, a small magnetic flux field is generated. The electrostatic surface potential of a molecule can be indirectly measured and recorded as an oscillating magnetic field.

Hapbee uses a specialized, liquid helium cooled, superconducting, ‘SQUID’ magnetometer to sense and record real-time changes in the magnetic environment of a sample. Temporal data that represents changes in the magnetic environment are measured, stored, and processed. We can then reconstruct part of the original magnetic flux environment using the electronics in the Hapbee wearable device. This recreation of a molecule’s magnetic flux environment creates the feelings you can control using the Hapbee headband without having to ingest any potentially habit-forming substances.

Are there third-party studies that confirm the efficacy of Hapbee? If not, are there any in the making?

Our first tests for safety and behavioral efficacy were done in mice studies through a third party Contract Research Organization in San Diego, and those results were exciting, especially since animals cannot have placebo. Watching a video of mice jumping around on Alert and curled up asleep in the corner on Sleepy was very exciting for us.

To date, we have had 400 people try the signals with favorable results from our prototype devices, which can be viewed as anecdotal data. In the last 2 weeks, we have been able to start our full studies on users with the early units from our production line. Those studies are in process and we’re looking forward to sharing the results when they are finished. Our app will also get real-time feedback from users when we ship products next month. Other information related to our technology, our partner studies using this technology, and the white paper with more than 30 references on how magnetic fields create a biological response, can be found at hapbee.com/science.

choose how you feel interview with hapbee ceo scott donnell 1 - Choose how you feel, interview with Hapbee CEO Scott Donnell
Image source: Hapbee

Is your target the average person or do you plan to get involved with business professionals, professional athletes and other specific use cases? For example, wearing this before an important business presentation could be quite useful.

We are helping the people who want to choose how they feel on any given day. Hapbee has infinite use cases- people who want to feel better without ingesting potentially harmful substances, athletes who want a boost of energy before a workout, 9-to-5ers who want to unwind after a long day, etc. Because Hapbee is a discreet wearable that can be worn as a headband or on the chest underneath a top, it can be worn for everyday tasks like answering emails, meditating or reading before bed.

At the moment, we’re mostly selling directly to customers, although we are getting many requests to work with major companies who serve certain people groups, like distributors for biohackers, elite athletes, seniors, moms, gamers, addicts, counseling, even Hollywood and entertainment.

Personally, I’ve used the Pick Me Up signal dozens before major presentations or speeches, and I love it! Our core Hapbee team uses the devices daily – while getting ready for the day, coding, writing emails, traveling, watching movies and getting ready for bed. It’s an incredible advantage to be able to harness your feelings in an immediate way with little effort on the user’s part.

Who do you see as your competition? I reviewed a couple of years back TouchPoints Basics. It doesn’t use the same technology but it’s wearable that reduces stress. That’s not quite the same, though. Neorhythm is perhaps closer in terms of what it does. Would this be accurate to say?

We have many other companies that we like to use and learn from, like Halo Neuro, Neorhythm, NuCalm, and similar companies. However, each of these companies really only has one type of frequency that directly stimulates certain parts of the brain and tries to directly activate or influence the way neurons fire (called entrainment) in a specific part of the brain that’s being stimulated. While those are helpful, we take more of a targeted approach through diverse sensations that can be triggered using a totally different type of stimulation.

Most of that has to do with our very precise magnetic fields that are very targeted to a special pathway or receptor site in the body. Currently, we have 8 more signals in the labs right now related to memory, sleep, focus, diet and others. In the end, we like to encourage customers to see for themselves which signals they like best.

I understand the wearable has a monthly subscription model for signals (after an initial free period). Are there plans to introduce cost-free options with perhaps one or two signals – or different subscription levels?

Yes. We’re currently working on ways to offer specific uses of certain signals to Hapbee users who do not have a subscription, as well as a tiered subscription program. Our subscription fees go directly into research and development for new signals, enabling us to provide a larger catalog of signals to users to satisfy any need. We are creating an entirely new technology platform like Netflix for feelings, and we want our members in it for the long haul with us.

The Indiegogo campaign for Hapbee was very successful having raised around $500,000. Is manufacturing going according to schedule? When can backers expect to receive their product? 

Yes, the campaign has been very successful! Hapbee is offering a product that fills the need for many people, who want to move away from the substances they use to manage their feelings throughout the day- the 4 p.m. cup of coffee, the glass of wine after work- and live healthier lives with improved mental wellness.We shared Hapbee with movers and shakers like Joe Polish, Dave Asprey, Jim Kwik, Suzy Batiz, etc., and they loved it, shared it with their network and the campaign took off from there.

Our manufacturers have been able to keep working throughout the lockdowns as essential businesses, but we have had to find new print shops, bag manufacturers, and design firms. That being said, we are still on track to hit our end of May and early June timelines to begin shipments to our Indiegogo backers.

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Image source: Hapbee

The wearable can still be purchased through Indiegogo in-demand, but when do you expect wider retail availability?

We are continuing pre-sale through Indiegogo at hapbee.com/go as part of our “Open Beta” phase of the product where backers get to be the first to use the product and give us feedback and ideas as we get ready for our retail launch. We’re planning a full retail and e-commerce launch at the Upgrade Labs Biohacking Conference in California in late July of this year.

Where does the company go from here?

Right now we’re focusing on delivering this first product and building out the app platform. We plan to introduce a new signal sensation to our members in the app every few months after we launch. Our goal is to get dozens of feelings in the app over the next year or two, giving more control and variety to our users to give them a wide range of feelings with just a few taps of the Hapbee app. We are also looking into new form factors to create to deliver our signals to members. Lastly, we are in discussions with many technology partners, distributors and some large companies who want to bring Hapbee to their audience.

Where do you see this technology heading in the next few years?

Our mission is to help you choose how you feel and that is something that resonates with a lot of people right now. We are by no means a cure-all product, and there is really no substitution for good sleep, healthy eating, laughter, exercise and meditation. Our goal is to elevate each of those experiences and keep people in balance. There is a large space to help people find a healthier alternative to reduce stress and feel better during the day, and we think that Hapbee is a great fit for that.

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