MindCotine wants you to kick the smoking habit, and it is enlisting virtual reality to help.
The Redwood City, Calif.-based company has created a VR app that combines mindfulness practices, psychological therapies, and community engagement to fight nicotine addiction. The company has launched its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise $18,000 for the project.
The company is announcing the effort on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World No Tobacco Day. The campaign aims to continue funding the development and worldwide distribution of the groundbreaking app.
MindCotine’s creators realized that the needs for smokers looking to quit were not being met. With the premise that smokers do not have convenient tools nor programs handy to treat their addiction, the team combined their diverse expertise in the medical and virtual reality fields to engineer an easily accessible mobile application.
The app guides users through a mental process focused on raising awareness about the present moment, and a biofeedback monitoring system that trains users to control bodily processes. By becoming conscious of what the habit represents for each user, they are then able to better identify and take charge of their impulses and behavior. The program also provides users with tools to overcome the cravings and discomforts associated with tobacco withdrawal.
It uses a community platform with an artificial intelligence component. Users are welcome to join and practice the skills acquired, as well as support other peers to overcome the source of the addiction.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking causes approximately 6 million deaths per year, and is responsible for $1 trillion in healthcare costs worldwide.
Governments and other entities around the world have taken measures on this problem, proposing a broad variety of solutions, from taxation and banning, to awareness campaigns, to nicotine-related therapies, such as nicotine patches and prescription medications.
MindCotine is undergoing validation and trials in focus groups at universities around the world, including Universidad Siglo 21 in Argentina and Universidad de la Comunicación in Mexico City.