Features, InBusiness

Boston tech company Thync zaps life into R&D transparency

Thync, founded by Isy Goldwasser (right) and Jamie Tyler, created a device to tune its wearer's mood with electric shocks. PHOTO COURTESY OF THYNC
Thync, founded by Isy Goldwasser (right) and Jamie Tyler, created a device to tune its wearer’s mood with electric shocks. PHOTO COURTESY OF THYNC

Hiding the inner workings of a developing product is often common practice within the world of tech-based businesses, but Thync decided to change the game.

Thync, a Boston-based technology and science company, has made the bold decision to reveal the magic behind its newest product, a wearable device that adjusts the user’s mood.

Jamie Tyler, Thync’s chief science officer and co-founder, said the device has two settings, “Energize” and “Calm,” each of which cause effects similar to drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, respectively. The product works through a non-invasive process called neurosignaling, which sends electronic signals to trigger different neural pathways in the brain.

“We specifically target the parts of the brain that regulate sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems that are responsible for ‘fight or flight’ or ‘rest and digest’ behaviors, respectively,” Tyler said.

In other words, Tyler said, the process works a bit like the gas pedal in a car — press the pedal for speed, release the pedal to slow down.

“People use stimulants and products to relax or get energized every day,” he said. “Thync offers a non-invasive, substance-free solution that taps directly into the source, your brain, to help you achieve a better state of mind.”

Using the product is neither painful nor harmful, with the only current side effect being a mild tingling of the skin. If all goes well, Tyler said, the product will be released some time in 2015.

However, a product such as Thync could be hard to believe in, especially when it is the first one of its kind. The device is not only new to the public, but also to the world of science. Tyler said by releasing their studies to the public, rather than keeping them obscure, they hope to attract collaboration and support.

“From the beginning, we’ve aimed to be transparent with future customers,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to present the device to the academic and medical community.”

Peter Russo, a senior lecturer and executive in residence at Boston University’s School of Management, provided some deeper insight on the company’s bold move. He said using such an honest approach could save money in the long run — sharing information could possibly win Thync aid in the area of research, which can otherwise come at a high price.

But the main focus of this reveal, Russo said, is not cost cutting, but rather credibility. With a product that is common and understood to work, it may not always be necessary to reveal the related inner studies to the public. With something completely new, however, it is important to do so to create a sense of validity and trust among wary consumers.

“In the case of something very new … you really want to be transparent,” Russo said. “You want people to see all the work you’re doing … [It’s] a way to gain credibility.”

Russo said he was skeptical when he first heard of Thync. He said many consumers would probably have the same reaction, which is why releasing proprietary information to the public is a great way to affirm the legitimacy of both the product and the company.

“The fact that [Thync] is showing the science behind [the product] and the amount of work they’ve done … [makes it] become more believable,” Russo said.

Gaining credibility, Russo said, is the company’s biggest challenge. Compared to a normal business setting, where the concerns typically revolve around competition, the situation is different with something brand new like Thync.

“Their biggest challenge as a company is not a competitor doing it better or cheaper,” Russo said. “It’s getting people to accept the idea that they can actually do what they say they can do. By being as transparent as they are, people will understand that.”

With the combined results of boosting credibility and lessening costs, Russo said this sharing of usually secreted information is a smart move on Thync’s part and ultimately lets the company put more attention toward helping its consumers.

“Our lifestyles are demanding and hectic, and often require us to shift from high gear to low gear in a moment’s notice,” Tyler said. “We aim to help people bridge life’s transitions using the power of their own mind.”

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