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DHS S&T Awards Funds to Denver Startup Developing Wearables for Mental Health and Recovery

The mental health and recovery device includes a set of goggles with integrated light panels, earphones and a heart rate sensor.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced a Phase 1 Other Transaction award of $55,000 to Sana Health, a Denver, Colorado-based company. Sana Health will develop wearable technology leveraging audio-visual-stimulation to create neurofeedback signals that help the body and mind reach states of deep relaxation. Sana Health’s neural stimulation solution could deliver significant impacts to rest and recovery and overcoming mental health challenges like anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Under its “Human Performance and Resiliency” topic call, S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) sought groundbreaking solutions to identify and resolve issues before reaching crisis levels, and to promote resilience and wellness tools that could serve the mission needs of DHS components and programs, including the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Officer safety and wellness research has found that compared to other professionals, officers work under stressful conditions and are regularly exposed to the risk of accidents, physical attacks or other trauma.

“DHS operators are constantly faced with stressors from all angles, negatively affecting their physical and emotional well-being,” said Melissa Oh, managing director of SVIP. “We are focused on varied technologies that give them an edge at overcoming those challenges. Going beyond exercise and physical readiness, Sana Health brings a novel approach that can impact the way our operators cope with stress.”

Sana Health developed an audio-visual-stimulation solution with the potential to elicit brain states, enabling enhanced relaxation and recovery for users. The benefits of deep relaxation improve sleep, rest, rehabilitation, energy levels, mood and perception of pain. The mental health and recovery device includes a set of goggles with integrated light panels, earphones and a heart rate sensor that presents users with patterns of light and sound that can trigger specific neural patterns.

“Sana Health’s technology brings a non-invasive, nonpharmacological solution for fatigue, allowing for rapid relaxation, deeper rest and faster recovery for our agents. This innovative technology has the potential to help us rethink how we can treat the whole person—mind and body, all without the need to rely on drugs or medication,” said Jeremy Ocheltree, acting director of the CBP Innovation Team.

This topic call complements current DHS employee wellness programs by including innovative technologies with a high degree of usability to support real-time wellness monitoring.

Read more at DHS S&T

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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