Zinc raises $850,000 for ear lobe sensor, stress relief app

By Brian Dolan

Zinc Software Zen SensorDublin, Ireland-based Zinc Software recently announced a seed round of about $850,000 (€650,000) in funding from Kernel Capital, AIB Seed Capital Fund, and Enterprise Ireland. Zinc is developing wearable health sensors, including the Zen Sensor, which clips to a user's ear lobe to collect heart rate data. The Zen connects to an iPhone or iPad app to provide heart rate variability biofeedback, which the company says can reduce blood pressure and levels of stress hormones. Zinc also announced that it was entering product development and supply chain management company PCH International's accelerator program.

Zinc aims to have the Zen sensor up for sale online sometime in mid-2013 for about $99 both in the US and Europe.

"Regular exercise and good diet will be big part of this but we also believe good health starts in the mind and creating time in your day to be mindful and refocus is an excellent basis to build a healthy lifestyle," Darran Hughes, CEO of Zinc Software said in a statement. "The Zen Sensor provides the perfect context to learn meditative breathing techniques and in only 10 minutes, become refocused and re-energized."

Zinc's sensor device and app is similar to other devices already on the market, including HeartMath's Inner Balance sensor (which also clips to the ear) and companion iOS app, which that company unveiled at CES this year. Inner Balance also costs $99.

As MedCity News reported, the PCH Accelerator launched following the company's partnership with sleep and health monitoring device company Lark. It has also worked with smart sports watch startup MetaWatch and the makers of Autom, the weight loss-focused, personal robot.