Six Locally-Founded Wearable Devices That Go Way Beyond Step Counting

From stress reduction to concussion monitoring, wearable technology can do more than ever.


The Jolt Sensor. Photo provided to

Looking around the gym, it seems like nearly every treadmill junkie and group fitness enthusiast is decked out in a fitness tracker of some kind.

And now, these devices go way beyond tracking steps, heart rate, and calories burned. We found six startups with local ties that are pushing boundaries in the world of wearables.


Why: Three Harvard alums developed the WHOOP for top athletes, coaches, military personnel, and college teams.

What: A FitBit-style bracelet aiming at preventing sports injuries before they happen. It takes data from movement, sleep patterns, heart rate, caloric intake, and perspiration to determine how much physical stress the wearer can handle at any point in time.

When: WHOOP has been brewing for more than three years, but its official availability was announced in September.

How much: $500 to $5,000 per year for individuals, or up to $100,000 per year for a team. (For now, this one’s for elite athletes only.)

2. Thync

Why: Local founders Isy Goldwasser and Jamie Tyler created Thync with the everyday, overly stressed user in mind. Headquarters are located in the Prudential Center.

What: A mood-changing pad that attaches to the side of the wearer’s forehead. It claims to send either calm or energetic vibes straight to your brain, working in five minutes and lasting up to an hour. It might sound out-there, but early testers have backed up the company’s claims.

When: The latest incarnation of Thync was released this past summer.

How much: $300.

3. Bandu

Why: Two former MIT students founded “stress-killing startup” Neumitra after a neurotechnology class got them thinking about the unmet medical needs of stressed-out individuals.

What: The Bandu is Neumitra’s flagship product. It’s a tiny wristwatch that monitors signs of stress, including changes in heart rate, breath, and sweat production. When these factors speed up past the wearer’s normal threshold, the product alerts and directs her to smartphone apps that might help her calm down.

When: Bandu is still in its crowd-funding stages.

How much: To be announced.

4. Jolt

Why: Two MIT graduates developed the Jolt Sensor to combat the prevalence and side effects of sports-related concussions. The product was inspired after one founder suffered a wrestling-related head injury.

What: The Jolt Sensor clips onto headgear and vibrates when the wearer is speeding towards another moving object at a dangerous rate. It also alerts parents and doctors when the wearer receives a major blow to the head.

When: After nearly six years of crowdfunding, the Jolt Sensor was released this year.

How much: $99.

5. MicroChips

Why: Two MIT researchers founded MicroChips to help those with chronic diseases adhere to prescriptions.

What: The proper word here might be “implantable,” not wearable. This microchip-based device aims to eliminate human error in prescription routines by storing and systematically releasing drug doses from beneath the skin. It can be wirelessly programmed to follow a schedule set by a doctor.

When: The product is still undergoing testing.

How much: To be announced.

6. Quanttus 

Why: Cambridge-based founder Shahid Azim wants anyone and everyone to use his gadget.

What: A wrist-worn, sensor-packed device that monitors blood pressure and lets a user know if his or hers looks suspect. Azim was inspired to start Quanttus after realizing that most of the data related to heart disease, which affects millions of Americans every year, is only collected during emergency situations.

When: Quanttus is still seeking FDA clearance, but is currently carrying out tests at Massachusetts General Hospital. Azim predicts it will be released by the end of the year.

How much: To be announced.