Habit-breaking smart bracelets

Do you have a kid who engages in potentially harmful, subconscious behaviors such as excessive nail biting, skin picking or hair pulling?

You’re not alone. 

Millions of Americans suffer significantly from these issues, including many children.

But now there may be a solution for such Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs), which are defined as complex mental health disorders that ultimately lead to physical damage.

Twin Cities app designer and mama Aneela Kumar suffered secretly from hair pulling for more than 20 years.

“I was so ashamed, I hid it from everyone I knew,” she said. “When I finally shared this secret with my husband, we set out to solve it.”

Enter the couple’s new invention — Keen, a vibrating “smart bracelet” for ages 5 and older from their company, HabitAware.

Keen bracelets (starting at $129) recognize when a user is engaging in a body-focused repetitive behavior and vibrate to alert the user.

Bracelets, expected to start shipping later this month, can be customized to specific BFRBs and other gestures, including thumb sucking. 

Though the bracelets can’t stop users from engaging in undesirable behaviors, they can help bring awareness —and often that’s enough to help users stop if they truly want to, Kumar said.

“I've been able to take control of the behavior and regrow all of my eyebrows and eyelashes,” Kumar said “And our alpha and beta testers are seeing similar results.”

Learn more about BFRBs from The TLC Foundation — and find therapists and support groups — at bfrb.org.

Use the promo code MNParent for free shipping on any Keen order at habitaware.com through March 31, 2017.