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Defense Department releases biofeedback app for Android tablets and smartphones

by David Needle

February 1 2013

The Department of Defense is tapping mobile technology to provide military service members with new therapy options.

BioZen is an Android app developed by the Defense Department's National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) that uses wireless sensors to show the user their physical level of relaxation.

The DOD says it’s the first portable, low-cost method for clinicians and patients to use biofeedback in and out of the clinic.

BioZen shows real-time data from multiple body sensors including electroencephalogram (EEG), electromyography (EMG), galvanic skin response (GSR), electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), respiratory rate, and skin temperature. Each sensor sends a separate signal to the phone or tablet so users can see how their body is responding to their behavior.

Users can document their session with biofeedback data recorded in the Android device. The BioZen app generates graphical feedback from the recording sessions to show the user's progress over time.

The mobile app, free for Android devices, is built on an open source framework Bluetooth Sensor Processing for Android, also known as B-SPAN, developed by T2.

"Mastering biofeedback successfully is difficult and frustrating for many people," said T2 psychologist Dr. David Cooper. "This app takes many of the large medical sensors found in a clinic and puts them in the hands of anyone with a smartphone. BioZen makes it easier for anyone to get started with biofeedback."

While the app is free, users need to purchase compatible medical sensors to use it. A sensor can range in price depending on quality. The cost of compatible sensors begins between $75 and $150.  

T2 is a component center of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

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