The current state of the world has made the act of prioritizing one’s well-being to the top of the list. As previously reported by AfroTech, Digital Park, a Black-owned Brooklyn-based tech startup, launched its mobile app to combat mental stress during the peak of COVID-19. Now, two years into the pandemic, a new version of Drift Wellness has been built to create even more customization for users — an integrated pulse check-in feature.
According to a press release shared with AfroTech, the new update measures your BPM heart rate and creates an ambient sound tailored to your pulse. To use the innovative feature, users are to place their fingers over their phone camera and flash.
Making feature updates regularly is founders Jeffery and Oyin Antwi’s intention of not being a one-and-done mobile interaction, but rather a fluid experience for users’ journeys toward steadfast growth and better health.
“Mindfulness apps with the pandemic and the BLM movement in 2020 — so many apps started coming out. So, we were like, ‘What could we do that’s a little bit different?’ Early summer, there was just this idea of customizing the sound for you,” Oyin told AfroTech. “That’s actually what it was originally. Then we thought, ‘How do we make it unique to the person?’ That’s when we started to talk about what’s the benefit of knowing how someone’s feeling well. And the easiest way to know is to start with their blood pressure — their BPM. I think that that idea of just being able to connect your BPM with a sound that’s custom for you was where we started to build from there last summer. ”
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The New And Improved App
Along with the pulse check-in feature, additional nature sounds and ambient sounds — both with video — “with an immersive Ultra HD experience combined with quality sound that transports them to a relaxed state essential for sleep, or a calm state supporting focus and a positive mood,” according to the press release.
Another new optional feature is a voice command that guides listeners to take deep breaths within their time on the app.
Bridging Black Communities
Although the version may have changed, Digital Park hasn’t deterred from its commitment to serving the Black community. After connecting with Vanessa Adebayo — founder of Black mental health organization Africa’s Health Matters — before the startup’s launch, partial proceeds from Drift Wellness’ app downloads are donated to the organization.
According to the Antwis, what drives the partnership is the goal of connecting mental health professionals with the tool, as well as being a resource for Brooklyn first and then working their way to Black communities everywhere.
Mental Health In The African Community
Coming from Ghanaian and Nigerian households, Jeffery and Oyin have experienced first-hand the challenge of guiding the older generation within the African community to understand the meaning and importance of mental health.
The community in particular has widened the founders’ brainstorming process of how to effectively market the app through mindful word choice to get people across all backgrounds to benefit from the app’s offerings.
“I think what I’ve seen from my family members is the older folks are like, ‘Oh, it’s something that’s soothing and relaxing.’ But they don’t see it as a mental health feature,” Jeffery shared. “It’s something that you could approach it that way in the marketing sense where it’s like, ‘Hey, use this to go to sleep.’ Or, ‘You can use this throughout your day when you’re feeling stressed at work.’ Most of them are nurses and they’re on the floor all the time dealing with COVID and all the chaos that’s happening in this world. So, I think the approach has been more so to look at it as a tool and not necessarily telling the older generation that it’s for mental health.”
To learn more about Drift Wellness, click here.
Editorial note: Portions of this interview have been edited and condensed for clarity.