Get inner peace with the flick of your wrist

Try this experiment: Say out loud “My name is,” then your name, then swallow.

Now say, “My name is ‘Kate’” (unless your name is Kate), then try swallowing.

You can’t.

That’s because our bodies have their own natural intelligence that tells us if something isn’t right with ourselves.

Two Miami developers have created an app called Sensie to tap into that intelligence, which they say is the key to learning about more profound issues someone might be experiencing internally.  Their ultimate goal, they say, is to create a tool that allows people to end their suffering.

Mike Dannheim of Sensie

“This ‘technology’ been around for 3,000 years,” said Mike Dannheim, Sensie’s co-founder. “It’s used in Chinese medicine. But the West didn’t adopt it because it was too subjective.”

But with the iPhone’s internal sensors — namely, its gyroscope and accelerometer (the things that let you play games) — they’ve been able to make the science more objective, and therefore trusted by people in 2017.     

Here’s how it will work: Using what Dannheim calls a “triple whip” wrist-hand motion (holding the phone in your hand and snapping your wrist like you’re holding a whip), the app will let a user know whether they have elevated stress, and then perform a series of follow-up tests, using the same hand movement, to determine the source of the stress.

To develop the technology, Dannheim consulted with Dr. Anne Jensen, who studied the effects of “nonconscious” beliefs at Oxford University, like lying. As the “Kate” experiment showed, Sensie operates more or less like a lie detector, one that tries to find the conflicts that may be causing stress.

“The body reacts in certain predictable ways when it is experiencing stress,” Jensen said in an email. “For instance, we know from lie detection research that lies cause stress and when someone is lying, a stress response will ensue: increase[d] heart rate, shallow breathing, sweating, pupils dilate, etc.”

Sensie can accurately detect all this using the iPhone’s gyroscope sensor, she said.

Sensie is a Miami story — before he began working on the app, Dannheim was developing tech for one of the city’s major cruise companies. Co-founder Thomas Gersten splits his time between Miami and San Diego. (A third cofounder, Edgar Herrador, works out of Mexico.) The company now operates out of CIC Miami

The company also just received a grant from the Miami chapter of the Awesome Foundation, which promotes well-being. Both CIC and the foundation’s Miami program are run by Natalia Martinez-Kalinina.

“It is a local initiative focused on improving an aspect of our community, but it also represents the intersection of seemingly disparate topics — technology, wellbeing, science, happiness,” she says.

They are self-funding for now, and plan to solicit outside funding once they start gaining customers, a process they say will begin in the next week or two. The plan is to sell monthly access subscriptions ($15/month) to leaders and influencers whose success stories can then be used to gain a mass audience.

“There are lots of spiritual concepts out there that are so helpful and healing for people — you have a healing mechanism inside inside you that science hasn’t been able to explain yet that spirituality has documentation for,” he says.

“The question was, ‘Why are so many people afraid of these spiritual topics or not interested? But what people people do like is tech, it’s always in their hands, they’re always playing with it, so how do we merge spiritual programming with technology, to meet people where they are — and not even talk about spirituality — but give them the tools to find joy. That’s what we all want, right?”


By Rob Wile
Rob Wile, the curator for Startup.Miami, is a writer and entrepreneur living in Miami Beach. He’s a former staff writer for Fusion and Business Insider. His work has also appeared in Slate, Newsweek, Money Magazine and The New Tropic. He writes a newsletter on tech, business, and the South Florida economy called The Heatwave.