Nordic-powered bilateral stimulation device reduces stress and anxiety

U.S. technology company, Dharma Dr., has launched a bilateral stimulation device designed to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety in both clinical and non-clinical settings. The wireless, handheld ‘Dharma Dr. Tabs’ induce bilateral stimulation, one of the key elements of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

“EMDR is a comprehensive therapeutic approach designed to help people process and overcome the distress associated with traumatic memories,” says Brad Mosell, Dharma Dr. CEO & Founder. “The technique is a specific kind of therapy that incorporates eye movements, hand taps, or auditory cues, timed at specific intervals while you focus on a certain traumatic memory. The goal is to reprocess the memory and alleviate the associated negative emotions and symptoms.”

Unlike traditional EMDR tappers, the Dharma Dr. Tabs are both wireless and simple to operate, integrating Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52840 SoC, to provide Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity between the two tabs, as well as between the tabs and the user’s smartphone. In operation, the tabs deliver bilateral stimulation through tactile or haptic feedback. By generating gentle vibrations or alternating taps, the tabs stimulate either side of the body simultaneously or in an alternating pattern to engage both hemispheres of the brain.

From the iOS and Android Dharma Dr. app, the user can control the speed and intensity settings of the device, access a library of guided therapeutic content, as well as perform over-the-air firmware updates. The app also enables remote control of the tabs by a third party. By sharing a control code, therapists are able to remotely control the device for the purpose of a telehealth EMDR therapy session.

In addition to the low latency wireless connectivity between the two tabs and the user’s smartphone, the nRF52840 SoC’s powerful 64 MHz, Arm Cortex-M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU) supervises the haptic motors and LEDs that deliver the tactile and visual bilateral stimulation to the user. The SoC has been engineered to minimise power consumption with a fully-automatic power management system that enables the Dharma Dr. Tabs to operate for more than three hours at full power and intensity on a single charge of the 3.7 V Li-ion batteries.

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