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Breathe with b wants to bring mindfulness to the lives of busy techies

After landing venture capital investments and founding a couple of startups in Michigan, Eric Chesbrough decided he was ready for a change.

“I decided to move to Chicago to learn how to develop websites and mobile applications,” said Chesbrough. “I always had a love of technology and I thought that would be a good skill set to learn. I fell in love with coding when I came out here and started coding websites.”

He ended up working as a software engineer based out of mHub in the Fulton Market District of Chicago.

“I was totally stressed out in my first couple months of freelancing and bit off more than I could chew,” said Chesbrough.

But it wasn’t just the stress that gave Chesbrough pause. He also realized that he was constantly being asked to develop applications where the sole purpose was to occupy their user’s time and attention.

Once again, Chesbrough decided he needed to change and made a New Year’s resolution to practice mindfulness and meditation.

“I did it for a week or so and was really awful at it, as everyone is their first couple times,” said Chesbrough. “I eventually found breathing to be the main component that helped me, and I found that out while writing software at my computer.”

Without realizing it, Chesbrough had put a pen cap in his mouth and was breathing in and out of it.

“I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, but I was doing deep diaphragmatic breathing,” said Chesbrough. “I solved my problem and felt mentally clear.”

Chesbrough was inspired by what he discovered and set out to build something that was completely different from what other software and app developers were doing.

“We take over 22,000 breaths each day,” said Chesbrough. “Imagine the impact on each of us if we took even 1 percent of our breaths more mindfully, and could optimize our breathing behavior over time.”

Studies show a daily habit of mindful breathing can help increase respiratory control, regulate weight, and improve mental health. On top of that, more than 40 percent of Americans suffer from smartphone addiction and spend on average over 10 hours per day looking at screens.

After a year of development, Chesbrough launched breathe with b this week.

Breathe with b is a smart, pocket-sized breathing device, designed to help coach users through guided meditation practice.

“Through a pressure sensor in our connected device, when paired with the app, we can now leverage real-time data and analytics to make smarter breathing decisions and practice a daily habit of mindfulness.” said Chesbrough, “Unlike pure software applications, we believe our device holds people accountable for their mindfulness goals.”

The device is available to preorder and when completed, will have Bluetooth connectivity, a pressure sensor and other hardware components that allow users to see their breathing data and practice mindful breathing exercises whenever and wherever they’d like.

“Sometimes we forget what’s right under our nose—a powerful stress reliever programmed in each and every one of us,” said Chesbrough. “Every moment is one to cherish and engage with. There’s beauty right in front of us, every second, we just have to be present enough to notice.”

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Christine Burright McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.

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