Nordic-powered bilateral stimulation device reduces stress and anxiety

a bunch of pink flowers on a table

The Dharma Dr. Tabs employ nRF52840 SoC to provide wireless connectivity between the handheld devices and user’s smartphone

U.S. technology company, Dharma Dr., has launched a bilateral stimulation device designed to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety in both clinical and non-clinical settings. The wireless, handheld ‘Dharma Dr. Tabs’ induce bilateral stimulation, one of the key elements of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.  

“EMDR is a comprehensive therapeutic approach designed to help people process and overcome the distress associated with traumatic memories,” says Brad Mosell, Dharma Dr. CEO & Founder. “The technique is a specific kind of therapy that incorporates eye movements, hand taps, or auditory cues, timed at specific intervals while you focus on a certain traumatic memory. The goal is to reprocess the memory and alleviate the associated negative emotions and symptoms.” 

iphone and Dharma Dr. Tabs next to succulents

Wireless, simple operation 

Unlike traditional EMDR tappers, the Dharma Dr. Tabs are both wireless and simple to operate, integrating Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52840 SoC, to provide Bluetooth® LE wireless connectivity between the two tabs, as well as between the tabs and the user’s smartphone. In operation, the tabs deliver bilateral stimulation through tactile or haptic feedback. By generating gentle vibrations or alternating taps, the tabs stimulate either side of the body simultaneously or in an alternating pattern to engage both hemispheres of the brain. 

From the iOS and Android Dharma Dr. app, the user can control the speed and intensity settings of the device, access a library of guided therapeutic content, as well as perform over-the-air firmware updates. The app also enables remote control of the tabs by a third party. By sharing a control code, therapists are able to remotely control the device for the purpose of a telehealth EMDR therapy session. 

The reason for picking Nordic chips in general is that the hardware has been so reliable, and the support from the Nordic team has been excellent.  
Brad Mosell, Dharma Dr. CEO & Founder
In addition to the low latency wireless connectivity between the two tabs and the user’s smartphone, the nRF52840 SoC’s powerful 64 MHz, Arm® Cortex®-M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU) supervises the haptic motors and LEDs that deliver the tactile and visual bilateral stimulation to the user. The SoC has been engineered to minimize power consumption with a fully-automatic power management system that enables the Dharma Dr. Tabs to operate for more than three hours at full power and intensity on a single charge of the 3.7 V Li-ion batteries. 

Long battery life 

“Battery life was an important consideration when we selected the nRF52840 SoC, because it was critical that a therapist could use the tabs with clients all day long without the battery being exhausted,” says Mosell. “But the reason for picking Nordic chips in general is that the hardware has been so reliable, and the support from the Nordic team has been excellent.  

“Our engineers have used multiple Nordic chips over the years and have been very pleased with the results. The samples are a great help in starting a project, while DevZone and the nRF Connect SDK documentation are a great reference for developers.”