If you’re looking for the intersection of a medical marvel, productivity hack, and convenience — the street sign likely reads “Healium.”
At-Home Brain Therapy
Billed as a “mental fitness” tool, Healium is a clinically validated channel that helps users manage their mental health using augmented and virtual reality. In normal words: Healium uses cool tech to make people feel better and work smarter.
The primary piece of the puzzle, neurofeedback, is how Healium reads information from the brain and informs the user about what it sees.
With this technology, users can get live looks at factors such as stress levels and alertness. Translating this information into easily digestible feedback allows users to gain new insights about their mental states and exercise greater control over their moods and habits.
While the technology under the hood may be complicated, the practical applications are simple — and, in theory, almost limitless. Let’s take a look to see what neurofeedback can do and how its applications will shape the future of mental wellness.
How does neurofeedback work?
Healium doesn’t scan your brain with your smartphone’s camera (not yet, anyway). Instead, the app works through an EEG headband, a neat device that goes around the head of the user.
Healium and its BrainLink Lite headband can also hook up with iPhone, Android, Vive, Pico Goblin devices. The BrainLink headband can also be paired with Oculus devices, expanding potential uses to all-new realms.
The app starts off by measuring EEG data from the user to create a baseline.
If you’re looking at your phone, you’ll see a small firefly move around, representing your focused calm or flow state. Relaxing more makes the firefly on the screen go higher — as does being more focused. What about when you’re stressed?
You can see the reaction of your stress or distracted thinking by watching the little firefly on your phone screen — the firefly begins to fly downward.
What do you do when the firefly starts flying down?
With the little firefly blip on the screen going down — you can relax or change your thinking. Healium provides a variety of feedback forms to help users recognize when they’re leaving the desired state of mind.
In VR, for example, Healium may tint the landscape red or pause an experience to get the user back on track.
Can you see the jaguar now?
The jaguar helps you increase focus. You can even change the color of a jaguar’s fur by increasing your focused calm thoughts! The jaguar represents your “stress animal.”
You train your brain with exercises — made just for you
Over time, you’ll use many exercises to help you train your mind to operate in more desirable states for longer periods of time.
Measuring both alertness and relaxation as the same kind of positive result may sound confusing, but it’s actually quite simple.
Healium can differentiate between different types of relaxation (meditation versus scrolling aimlessly through social media, for example).
The app can do the same work for different types of active brain work (like writing in a flow state versus side thoughts, like stressing about your relationship woes). The mental state the user wants is treated as a positive state.
Mental fitness app and productivity tool
Healium helps with both personal betterment and self-awareness. Functions such as Healium’s alertness and engagement training, for instance, can help professionals master the flow state to focus more on what’s in front of them. At any moment you can see where you are mentally — and learn to retrain your focus with ease.
What’s your mental fitness level?
Medical applications cover a variety of areas. Studies show neurofeedback can help medical practitioners and their patients achieve a host of positive results, especially with issues of mental fitness.
What about depression and anxiety?
One recent study focused on neurofeedback as a self-management tool for depression and anxiety. Participants practiced meditation with Healium’s augmented reality app, then gauged their mood states before and after. Overall, participants demonstrated changeable EEG activity and self-reported mood improvements after use.
Use in trauma
Trauma therapist and researcher Heather Hargraves discovered both professional and personal benefits from neurofeedback using Healium’s tools. After a major car accident in 2000 and the death of her brother a few years later, Heather experienced major trauma, both physically and mentally. Symptoms including dissociation followed suit.
Eventually, through her academic career and personal experience, Heather found meditation combined with neurofeedback provided a level of comfort she had not experienced using other methods.
Now working as a clinical practitioner, Heather helps others identify and deal with their internal struggles. She recommends patients use Healium neurofeedback between sessions as a way to reinforce the improvements they make during their treatment sessions.
The future of neurofeedback in daily life
Applications in personal, professional, and medical circles reveal that there’s personal power to be gained using the tool of neurofeedback. As Healium and other technology-fueled mental wellness tools become more widespread — neurofeedback will be one of the most effective techniques to help people make the improvements they desire in their lives.
Helping business productivity
Healium for Business has already begun to help professionals improve their performance while reducing the job-related burnout that has become a crisis. People are growing more aware of the need to manage their mental health effectively, and neurofeedback tools provide a practical, accessible way to do so.
Relieve your personal pain points
Personal users experience a litany of issues neurofeedback can help alleviate. Who doesn’t experience stress from work, family, friends, and otherwise? Many people struggle to tear themselves away from distractions like Netflix or social media.
With neurofeedback, users can reclaim control over their attention spans to spend their energies in the places they choose.
Using neurofeedback in medicine
Neurofeedback in medicine will continue to grow as more practitioners recognize the benefits of real-time mental health training. Today, neurofeedback is more heavily involved in psychological care, but these tools can also help with issues such as the self-management of chronic pain.
Healium at-home use
Healium at home puts the powers of neurofeedback in the hands of everyday people. Anyone can take advantage of powerful science and easy-to-use tools to train for productivity or self-managing anxiety.
As neurofeedback becomes a more common form of self-managed care, more people will incorporate these treatments into their daily lives.
Image Credit: from the healium home blog page
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!