Mindfulness meditation app maker Headspace has just announced that it is acquiring voice-enabled AI system Alpine.AI, furthering the former's development in personalization and conversational products. The deal, which was made for an undisclosed sum, means that Alpine's team will move over to Headspace’s San Francisco office.
"Alpine.AI will help dramatically improve our voice platforms allowing users to have a more natural conversation with our products via voice assistants like Google Home or Alexa," Paddy Hannon, chief technology officer at Headspace, wrote in an email to MobiHealthNews. "For customers wanting to experience Headspace without their phone, and the myriad distractions that come with it, Alpine will help us ensure they have an amazing experience. We see this system evolving and we see the underlying conversational technology as critical to building a comprehensive guide to health and happiness."
The Headspace team cites the growing use of voice-powered technology as a potential medium to display its mediation and mindfulness content.
“At Headspace, we are committed to meeting people where they are, and we’ve already seen success in leveraging digital assistant platforms to improve user engagement,” Hannon said in a statement. “[Alpine.AI] has built a platform to create conversational applications that is highly compatible with Headspace’s ongoing mission to improve the health and happiness of the world.”
Currently Alpine.AI’s technology has been integrated into Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Eventually the Headspace team would like to give users the experience to communicate with their mediation services through voice technology.
This isn’t Headspace’s first big news of the summer. In June it launched subsidiary Headspace Health to focus on creating a prescription mediation app by 2020.
The company is planning for the mediation app to be part of a portfolio of products that will be FDA cleared and clinically validated. The company said these products will be released later on down the road and designed to treat a range of chronic diseases. The company kicked off randomized control trials on its first targeted disease state this summer, with the intention to submit the company’s plans to the FDA in 2019.
But not all of Headspace’s news has been glowing. In the spring a study published in BMC Psychology found no significant difference in mindfulness, dispositions, or critical thinking scores when comparing a group of participants that received mindfulness meditation training through Headspace’s meditation app to a group that went through a “sham” version of the mediation training delivered by the same app.
In addition to the studies, Headspace has been looking to grow its partnerships. So far it boasts deals with Apple, Amazon, Google, Nike, and the MBA. The company has $75.2 million in financing, with some of that coming from celebrity angel investors including Jessica Alba, Cash Warren, Jared Leto, and Ryan Seacrest, as well as more traditional investors.
“We are thrilled to be joining forces with the Headspace team as we see a huge opportunity to make meditation and mindfulness more accessible and the conversation natural,” Alpine.AI CEO Adam Marchick said in a statement. “Ultimately, this will benefit the millions of people already using Headspace and the hundreds of millions more that Headspace will impact.”