Skip to content

New wearable device can help halve your stress symptoms

Wellness device company Roga secures partnerships, funding since joining Velocity

You can talk to a therapist or take medication to treat stress and burnout, but what happens if you can’t afford therapy and medications don’t work for you? 

Roga, a company that recently joined Velocity, University of Waterloo’s startup incubator, has developed a wearable mental wellness device, giving users stress relief options when therapy is too expensive or inaccessible, or when medication usage is limited due to side effects or stigma. 

Users wear the Roga device behind the ears like headphones, stimulating the peripheral nerve behind each ear which reduces worry and rumination. The device is paired with an app, which uses artificial intelligence to provide personalized, guided meditations.  

“Once users calm down, they feel more resilient against the stressors they have in their life,” said Dr. Alison Smith, Roga’s co-founder and chief scientist. Smith received her PhD from Faculty of Health in 2009 in neurophysiology.

“This type of non-invasive, gentle peripheral nerve stimulation is based on decades of research on what type of stimulation elicits positive changes in the brain.” 

There are 16 clinical trials using similar technology to Roga showing that if this type of wearable stimulation device is used once a day for 20 to 60 minutes for six weeks, stress symptoms can be reduced by up to 50%.

Co-founders Ami Lebendiker (L) and Alison Smith (R)

Roga co-founder and CEO, Ami Lebendiker, said the wellness device market is vibrant and currently their technology is serving people experiencing intense stress. Businesses are purchasing it as a solution to curb their employees’ stress and burnout, which is leading to performance declines, rise in absenteeism, and employee turnover.  

But the co-founders’ goal is for the device to receive medical device status in order to reach the anxiety patient population. And that mission is critical, for personal reasons. 

Ready full story on Waterloo News.

Sign up for the Velocity newsletter more news.