Skip to main content

Digital Engineering

Digital Engineering For a Health Device Startup

Wearable Engineering

Project Overview

A Biofeedback Wearable Device Startup chose TechBlocks to help develop the first clinically validated wearable with scientifically proven touch therapy that actively helps your body recover from stress and improve Heart Rate Variability (HRV). 

The company started as a research project in Cognitive Affective Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. The founders discovered that certain combinations of low-frequency inaudible sound waves (vibration that you can feel but can’t hear) could safely and reliably change how we feel through our sense of touch and that we can measure those physiological changes in near real-time. 

The Results

Our expertise in building companion apps for BLE wearable devices and mobile device testing labs helped the client resolve BLE connectivity issues and provide a stable app with a much shorter release cycle. With the extended QA and DevOps processes and a strong development team, the client was able to release fixes and new features every couple of weeks compared to a few months earlier, and improve their overall ratings on the store. 

3 x

Reduction In Release Cycles

50 %

Reduction In App Crashes (Quality Control) 

58 %

Increase In Customer Satisfaction 

Their Product

Our client developed one of the first biofeedback devices that can be worn on the wrist or ankle and constantly monitors the heart’s electrical activity for signs of stress. When stress is detected through their patented technology, sound waves are generated from the device to activate our sense of touch and immediately reduce our stress reactions. 

Their solution has been clinically proven through numerous independent studies to improve focus, sleep, productivity, reduce anxiety, calm the user, and allow for deeper meditative states. 

Physical Recovery white


less stress and feelings of anxiety, on average

HRV white


increase in HRV, on average

Focus white


more focus and concentration

Sleep Quality white


more time in deep sleep, on average

The Challenge

Their wearable device relies on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to link to a paired smartphone for data synchronization through native mobile companion apps. The mobile apps provide the interface for users to interact with the wearable devices, get stats and visual feedback from the device, and suggest recommendations for built-in programs to improve stress conditions. 

Some of the challenges faced by the client were: 

Developing an easy-to-use mobile health app with valuable data visualizations was also challenging for the client. Their Bluetooth device captures a lot of data, but allowing the user to derive valuable insights from the data was a unique challenge. 

Custom Software Development

The device requires constant connectivity with the host device. They had challenges with high packet drops over BLE, resulting in an unstable and poor user experience for the companion app.

Mobile App Development

The variability between mobile device manufacturers’ implementation of Bluetooth protocols, sleep mode, and application hibernation mode made maintaining a constant connection to the host device difficult.

High battery

High battery consumption on the wearable device as it had to reconnect and resend data packets to the companion app constantly.


Issues related to Over the Air (OTA) updates to wearable devices resulted in frequent crashes and unhappy customers.

Developing an easy-to-use mobile health app with valuable data visualizations was also challenging for the client. Their Bluetooth device captures a lot of data, but allowing the user to derive valuable insights from the data was a unique challenge. 


Need for better Quality Assurance (QA) practices and test coverage for the application so that it can be tested in a short time for each release, resulting in a more stable app.

Progressive Web App

DevOps processes leading to a longer time required to make changes, fix bugs and update apps in the store.

Solution Design

The startup partnered with TechBlocks to help engineer a companion app for their BLE wearable device. TechBlocks augmented the client team with its expertise in Native Mobile App development and QA processes, especially focusing on wearable technologies and BLE. 

In a short period, we took charge of the client’s native app and started modernizing their frameworks to leverage the latest technology that could help alleviate some of the pain points. 

Through our partnership, we delivered the following solutions and continued to support their apps as well as QA practices: 

Single Sign

A companion app to receive the device data, provide OTA firmware updates, and manage device settings.

Human Subject Validation

In-app data visualizations to provide the user with real-time feedback on their current stress levels.

For A Health Device Startup

Set up QA processes, defined test strategy, and wrote test cases for complete coverage of the companion apps.

Wearables and Embedded Software

Extended our device testing lab to test BLE wearable devices and companion apps with a larger number of mobile devices on Android and iOS.

Progressive Web App

A custom keep-alive (KA) protocol was developed to allow the wearable device to communicate with the companion app through various host device states.

Full-Service Mobile App

Code optimization and improved error handling to ensure that there is low battery consumption on the wearable to extend its life by optimizing connection and data transfer.

Processes & Automation

Code optimizations to maintain connections to the host device, wake up the companion app to sync captured data, and optimize transfer to avoid data packet loss.


How TechBlocks Can Help?

Get in touch today to learn how TechBlocks can help you with your wearable medical device project.