Dubbed as the Heartfelt, EiQ’s wearable device leverages machine learning technology to compute heart rate variability in real-time. Once the numbers are ready, users can glean their results from a visual dashboard that shows their emotional responses. To draw meaningful takeaways, consumers are encouraged to contextualize their trigger patterns with their physical environments throughout the day.
“We really want to revolutionize how we think about the relationship between emotions, machine learning and artificial intelligence,” says Kingsmith. However, navigating ethical and inclusive practices is a major hurdle when it comes to re-imagining accessible mental health support.
According to Valerie Borum, a director of the School of Social Work at this university, establishing the right mental health or disability support is “culturally bound.” She adds, “What's considered healthy in one community may not necessarily be considered healthy in another.”
On the other hand, Borum’s professional research shows mental health workers seem to hold the opposite view. “There's a focus on individualism,” she says and white able-bodied ideals are commonly pegged as the golden standard.
In the medical field internal biases can be powerful enough to inspire inaccurate diagnoses. For example, Borum points out African American patients who seek mental help are often misdiagnosed, or their "healthy cultural paranoia" from living in a white-dominated society is misunderstood.
Conscious of these medical stereotypes, Kingsmith and his co-founders have created their own algorithms. Rather than centering white heterosexual experiences as the norm, Kingsmith says he prioritizes accounting for diverse community-based experiences to ensure all users have access to equitable supports.
Aside from being culturally savvy, EiQ Technologies aims to provide an accessible, low cost service by using open source software to the max. When devices start rolling out, Kingsmith says clients will be able to access one of two cost efficient versions: a free version or a premium service at a rate of $2.00 per month.
Overall, Kingsmith champions the DFZ for offering an “invaluable” network. The Startup Track incubation process has provided his social science-based team with a much needed business crash course. This gave EiQ Technologies the necessary foundation and “knowledge mobilization” for building out a sustainable company from scratch.
When looking for future guidance, Kingsmith aspires to enhance his entrepreneurial talent by meeting more investors who have the capacity to turn his big visions into reality. “Our goal is to really put the human back into artificial intelligence,” Kingsmith says. “We really want to re-emphasize that people are an important part of technology.”
Stay tuned for more news on EiQ Technologies, external link by keeping up to date with new stories on the DFZ site or by following the company directly on Twitter, external link, Instagram, external link and their website, external link. Since mental health is so much more than a month-long affair, we also challenge you to honour awareness efforts all year round. Let’s keep the conversation going.