The Pip is not your usual run of the mill gadget. It helps you identify your state of mind, and helps you focus on relaxing yourself. But how does it work, and does it work? We explore that in our review below.
Every now and then we come across something new, something we haven’t quite seen before. Something that challenges the way we do things. We like looking at such things. The Pip is one of those devices. A little nifty little thing, not much bigger than a regular ticket stub, or a couple of coins laid next to each other, it measures your state of relaxation or stress. It then takes that knowledge, and presents you with ways to relax. In doing so, it helps build a system that helps you relax. Of course, it does mean that you will be reliant on this little gadget to relax, but with the help of its apps and advice, hopefully you will begin to see patterns in your lifestyle, and positively make a difference against the stressful elements.
Look and feel
As something that you can hold between your thumb and index finger, it is tiny. It features a couple of metallic pads on both sides, and as is obvious from the image, is shaped like a drop.
The top side, if you will, features a couple of LEDs, a green one and a red one.
The bottom of the device has a micro USB port for charging.
At 91 grams, it is extremely light, and can be carried with you wherever you go.
It isn’t some kind of a voodoo setup. I am happy to report that the science makes sense. The idea is simple. Based on our stress or relaxation levels, our body sweats. Using a small electrical current, the Pip measures how the skin is sweating, and translates that measurement into a measurement of our emotional state.
Once you are aware of your state, the device uses its apps to help you change your emotional state. This comes with various relaxation techniques, or stimuli. Being more aware of our emotional state, and learning how to control it is the key to being more relaxed.
More information on the science of the device can be found on their website.
Set up for this is reasonably simple. You charge the device for about 4 hours before your first use. I have discovered that you can use it while plugged in, so that makes a refreshing change over most wearables, who normally only play when they are unplugged from the charger.
Once charged (or charging), just open up one of the apps, and make sure Bluetooth is enabled on the device. You need to hold on the metallic parts using your thumb and index finger lightly, for about three seconds to turn this on. Once on, download one of the Pip apps (detailed below), open it, and basically follow instructions in the app to connect to the device.
I used it over and over again, and it worked perfectly every time.
The joy and the problem with such devices is simple. They are all about the apps. The device offers 4 apps from Pip, and they are as follows:
- The Loom – an app to help destress
- Relax and Race – beat your friends by destressing competitively (I know, sounds rather counter-intuitive!)
- Stress Tracker – just an app that shows your stress/relaxation level
- 4 Steps to Meditation – Contains videos that guide you on relaxation
The first three are free, while the fourth one comes as a paid for option. The apps are available for both iOS and Android devices, and links to download them can be found at the following link:
Of course, they can be looked for in the Play Store or the iTunes App Market as well.
I tested the device using an Android device, and it was quite evident that all the apps had been designed with iOS in mind. For example, pressing back on the bar at the bottom did nothing in the apps, as you were supposed to press ‘Back’ in the menus. They can be a bit sluggish and slow to respond, and I definitely did not have any hardware issues as far as the device I used was concerned.
However, once you go beyond the sluggishness and finish of the apps, the device itself is rather interesting. The Loom app (not sure why it is called that, though) helps you relax by focusing on calming images and sounds. As you relax more and more, the image develops to a nicer one. For example, a winter scene turns to a spring scene, night turns to day, etc. The more relaxed you are, the quicker it happens. Once your session finishes, you are presented with a set of stats that give you information about your session. As you use the apps more and more, the stats give you a more complete picture.
The Stress Tracker app lets you do exactly that, with no stimuli, so you can test it in your own situation, such as work, commute, home, food, etc.
The one paid for app is full of videos that help you focus on breathing, mindfulness and a general calm and relaxed state of being. All ways to help you be more relaxed.
What is it good for?
We live in stressful times, and it is no surprise that there is an increased demand for mindfulness, yoga, and general awareness for the need of relaxation. While the Pip is no magical spell, it makes you more aware of the state of mind and the different situations that present you with stress vs relaxation. It helps you control your breathing, think calming thoughts, and more so try and focus on being relaxed. Something that we don’t really do much.
All in all, it has helped me be aware of my state of calm, something I don’t usually think about. This has led me to be more focused on being relaxed, and more importantly, on finding ways to feel more calm.
This, of course, means thats in the long run, I can practise to get out of stressful situations by using personal exercises and techniques.
More information on the device, as well as about apps, the science, and so much more can be found on their website:
It retails for £145, and can be bought from various online retailers, including Amazon.
This isn’t your usual gadget. Focused on mindfulness and relaxation, this delivers well. While it will not relax you itself, the increased awareness and exercise definitely help pave the way.