For Cindy Gu, a mechanical engineer and certified yoga teacher who graduates from UBC at the end of this month, mindfulness was key to coping with campus life.
“Studying mechanical engineering was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done, but it was also very demanding,” said Gu, who moved to Vancouver from Beijing eight years ago. “Yoga helped me stay centred and calm.”
Now she’s hoping to share her insights with other people through a wearable device that promotes a meditative state of mind.
The device—a smart belt with a complementary meditation app for smartphones—is worn around the waist. It learns the wearer’s breathing pattern, compares it to other biometrics such as heart rate, and provides vibration feedback if the wearer is not breathing calmly and steadily.
To bring the device to market, Gu founded Ohm GearLab, currently part of a venture accelerator program at e@UBC. The venture has won the top prize at the Pacific Venture Capital Competition in Vancouver and third prize, along with a $10,000 cheque, at Canada’s Business Model Competition in Halifax.
“Research now shows that breathing is the key to both physical and psychological well-being, but not everyone knows how to benefit from that,” added Gu. “This product helps you become more aware of your breath and use it as a tool in stressful situations.”
Cindy Gu is one of 975 students graduating from UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science on May 31. Learn more about UBC’s engineering women at women.engineering.ubc.ca