Above the switchboard in the offices of BreathAI, a wearable device that will be launched this week, is an image bearing a mission statement — “Maximum health and happiness for maximum people: 1 million users by 2025”.
In the room and others around it, work is underway to fine-tune an innovative ‘Made in Pune’ system that will contribute to healthy and happy living. Breath AI’s purpose is to let users have a perfect and accurate understanding of the strength and fineness of their breath, its patterns and fluctuations, which directly co-relate with the heart, brain and overall sound physiology.
The breath is at the core of BreathAI’s philosophy and it believes that the perfect breath can drive a good heart, sleep and lead to a happy life. BreathAI will do this by scoring the user’s sleep, stress and happiness levels by measuring and analysing their breathing.
“Breath is not just an exchange of gases. Heart rate is well understood, while breath is not at all. Breath rate is an important health indicator just like heart rate. It is also the master key to unlock all the systems of the body and bring them back into harmony with one another,” says Sanjay Phadke, who has founded BreathAI.
Having completed mechanical engineering in 1994, Phadke has been a banker for many years, besides a fintech practitioner with Vayana Networks. He also authored the book ‘Fintech Future – Digital DNA of Finance’ in 2020. The focus of his recent work is to fuse science with spirituality.
While the market is packed with watches that calculate the heartbeat, sleep, steps, calories and other fitness parameters, BreathAI seeks to stand apart by including a wellness component. Its mobile phone app will provide recommendations — based on questionnaires— in the form of videos on mindfulness and fitness activities that a user can carry out every day in order to improve their body-mind health.
“At BreathAI, thus we track the most crucial element of breath to its logical conclusion of overall improvement of body, mind and holistic health/wellness. So, if a user’s stress is very high, they not only need to know this but also take it, over a period of time and through lifestyle changes, to a better environment,” says Phadke.
Stress-related illnesses are a global epidemic. A number of surveys in India this year alone are warnings — GenZ reported 18 per cent higher career anxiety than millennials, according to ITC’s Feel Good with Fiama Mental Wellbeing Survey 2023, which was commissioned with NielsenIQ, while a US-based human capital management solutions provider, UKG, found that 88 per cent of employees in India would not mind a lesser-paying job if it came with reduced tension.
“Stress, today, has no independent quantification. Everybody is stressed, yet nobody is doing much about it. It has become okay to say that one is stressed without realising that stress results in heart attack,” Phadke points out.
The Ministry of Science and Technology had given a grant of Rs 10 lakh to BreathAI during 2018-19, allowing it to start. The company has since raised money from friends, family and angel investors. “We are expanding the scope of activities as we get access to more capital. We are interested in patient capital, because a big change takes time,” he says.