Since the advent of smartphones in late 2000, it has steadily become one of the essential travel companions into being an inseparable extension of our hands. Some are so hooked to their mobile, they feel completely lost without it and now has official psychiatric term Nomophobia, fear of without the phone.
However, we cannot discount the fact that there are lots of convenience of owning a smartphone, as we can do so many things right on the palm such as hailing a cab, book groceries, order food, pay utility bills and more. There are also some special new apps that too from India, which are making strides in improving the digital well being of the consumer.
Ahead of the Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2019 (June 3-7), International Business Times, India Edition had an opportunity to meet two Indian app developer start-ups, which have developed very useful app support for pregnant women and psychologically depressed & stressed people.
As app name suggests, it is tailor-made for the expectant mothers. It is developed by IIT Kharagpur graduates Subhadeep Mondal and Sarika Sivareena, who been recently got recognized in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia, in healthcare.
A few decades back, Indian family usually consisted of three generations of families and in-laws in a single house, each person assigned with chores and most importantly, it used to offer a safe sanctuary of expectant mothers. Elders, mostly mother-in-law and grandmother offer tips and nutrient-rich food to daughter-in-law and in the process nurtured growing baby in the womb.
However, things have changed in the country particularly in the cities, where only the husband is the sole support system, most often gets burdened in balancing personal and office work, while the wife if not taken care properly, slips into depression and eventually impacting the development of the baby.
This is prevalent in different cultures around the world also, where people prefer to leave independently and most often than not, expectant mothers do feel lonely and also the expensive medical care, is also one of the factors that make them think twice before getting an appointment in hospital for prenatal care.
This is where PregBuddy comes in to play. It offers personalized, engaging and doctor-verified articles providing vital information on baby's growth, body changes, exercises and more.
Also, mothers can keep track of vitals such as weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar, and can record up to 43 visible symptoms allowing them to track all health activities efficiently at one place, the phone.
If you happen to own Apple Watch, you can view the vital biometric details, as well. They can stay updated about their pregnancy cycle on the new Apple Watch face and can track upcoming tests, appointments and medicine reminders in their personalized Antenatal Calendar. PregBuddy is touted to be the only maternal healthcare app allowing expecting mothers to track their vitals and symptoms with the ease of Apple Watch.
It can be noted Mondal and Sivareena were assisted by Apple Accelerator experts and also two young WWDC scholars, Harish & Tarun, with one of them still in high school, for developing Apple Watch app version of the PregBuddy.
So far, more than 150,000 expectant mothers have installed PregBuddy app on their phones in India alone. Even now, the app has one of the best interfaces, as the user can access any feature in quick time and with more improvements on the way, PregBuddy will only get better.
Wysa: Chatbot for a calm mind
Wysa app is developed by Touchkin, co-founded by Ramakant Vempati and Jo Aggarwal. This novel application is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based bot. It is intuitive enough to understand the user's depression level and suggests relaxing words to calm the person with empathy.
The company claims that all the suggestions are research-backed, widely used techniques of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy), even Yoga and meditation are utilised to manage stress, anxiety, sleep, loss and a whole range of other mental health and wellness needs.
So far, globally 1.2 million users have used this innovative and novel app Wysa, and among them 20-per cent account Indians.
I'm Aspergian and sorting out what's what as far as feelings on or about things is mostly impossibly confusing to me. 2018 has had an 'a lot of life happen' to me. To be blunt, I'm probably alive right now because of this app. I imagine maybe people will read this and think I'm padding the review. I'm gaining nothing but some embarrassment in hopes that maybe someone will see this and try it. My hope all the way from my bones is that others are being helped by using this app," Thistledancer74, one of the beneficiaries of the Wysa said.
It can be noted that this service is completely encrypted and the patient need not reveal his or her name anywhere in the conversation and even the advisor will not know the real identity of the patient. Wysa is also the only AI-based mental health solution that meets National Healthcare System (NHS) UK's standard for clinical safety, DBC0129.
Wysa's iOS version can also work without internet access thanks to Apple's CoreML that powers AI-related functions on iPhones, Watch and iPads offline.
"The App Accelerator in Bangalore helped us use voiceover and we have developed support for the visually impaired, and are in the final phases of development. Given the challenges this community faces, voiceover makes it feasible for us to provide emotional support through Wysa," Jo Aggarwal, Wysa co-founder & prominent TEDx speaker said to IBTimes India.
The company has found that 40-percent of the Wysa user suffer from sleep issues, so they have to build Apple Watch version of the app with single touch sleep routines and audio journaling habits at bedtime. It has quick, single swipe mood check-ins which will also work really well on the smart wearable, creating insights with activity and sleep.
Besides the iPhone and Apple Watch, Wysa plans to use Siri intents and shortcuts features to help people get timely support for negative emotions, reframe negative thoughts, log their mood and do gratitude journaling.
This will greatly benefit introverts and even city dwellers to overcome work stress, personal tragedies and it actually acts as a virtual shoulder to cry on and share their anxieties, which if not taken care of, might lead a person to commit suicide, but with a novel app like Wysa, many lives can be saved for sure.