Magnetism is a fundamental part of life. It plays a role in bird migration, fish navigation, and other phenomena.
Electromagnetic fields can be found everywhere in our environment. From the Earth’s crust to submarines and substances, many things create unique electromagnetic fields.
What's more, magnetic fields have been used for various purposes for thousands of years. Today, they’re used for magnetic resonance imaging, to speed bone fracture repair, increase the rate of wound healing, decrease pain, and other human interventions.
Extremely low/low frequency (ELF, LF; 3-300 kHz) and low intensity magnetic fields have reported effects in biological systems, from tissue and cell culture all the way to whole organisms (birds, bats, dogs and human, to name a few). ELF/LF magnetic fields can interact with small components such as DNA, proteins and cell membranes.
In the medical field, in which our licensor operates, for example, magnetic fields have been shown to affect specific proteins, such as receptors, based on work with adenosine and serotonin receptor assays. Both molecules (adenosine and 5HT) work by interacting non-covalently (that is, not forming a permanent bond) with receptors throughout the body. Caffeine acts as an antagonist (blocker or inhibitor) to the adenosine A2 receptors. In other words, caffeine blocks the ability of adenosine to bind with the A2 receptor. A magnetic field at 75 Hz (3.5 mT/35 Gauss) induced the clustering and activation of these receptors in neutrophils (PMID: 11976268; British Journal of Pharmacology), acting like the adenosine molecule, but without any adenosine being present. Other frequencies (50 Hz; 2.5 mT/25G) have been able to block the interaction of signaling molecules with their receptors, such as the serotonergic 5HT1B receptor with 5-HT ( https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-8993(99)02486-5; Brain Research). Both reported magnetic fields frequencies (the 75 Hz and 50 Hz) act like agonists (activators) and antagonists (blockers or inhibitors) in these test systems.
A 50 Hz (0.4 mT/4 Gauss) magnetic field has induced clustering of purified epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) (doi: 10.1002/bem.20293) and the activation of the EGFR signaling pathway (after the magnetic field induced clustering) in a cell culture system (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087626). This has been reported across multiple labs here (doi: 10.3109/10799893.2016.1147583), here (doi: 10.1080/09553002.2018.1466208), here (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205569), here (doi: 10.33594/000000062) and here (doi: 10.1002/bem.22249). All these reports are published in peer-reviewed journals like PLoS One, Bioelectromagnetics, Cellular Physiology & Biochemistry and the International Journal of Radiation Biology.
The literature on the effects of magnetic fields in biological systems is extensive and has been ongoing for decades. The arena of magnetic field research in biology is just starting to delineate the critical parameters in biological systems that can be exploited and used. There is a great deal of debate in the theoretical foundations of what is being observed and tested (the ion cyclotron resonance (ICR) model, modifications of the ICR model (Zhadin and Fesenko 1990; ISSN: 0955-9701), the ion parametric resonance model (Blackman, Blanchard et al. 1994; ISSN: 0197-8462), the Lorentz-Langevin model for Larmor frequencies (Muehsam and Pilla 2009, doi: 10.1002/bem.20493) and the resonant recognition model (Cosic, 1994; doi: 10.1109/10.335859). This short list shows the richness and active testing that is being carried out in the scientific community to understand the mechanisms of actions that explain the effects of magnetic fields in biology. Magnetic fields show clear documentable effects on membrane and transmembrane receptors. Fundamentally, magnetic fields can interact with the body at a biophysical level. From the published literature AC magnetic fields can act like activators or blockers of cell receptors.
Hapbee uses proprietary ultra-low radio frequency energy technology (ulRFE®) that emulates specific magnetic fields to produce desired feelings in the body (i.e. Happy, Alert, Focus, Relax, Calm and Deep Sleep). The Hapbee AC100 generates these sensations by delivering precise low-power electromagnetic signals. The Hapbee Companion App for iOS and Android controls play, allowing you to choose how you feel anytime, anywhere.
Hapbee is powered by patented ultra-low radio frequency energy (ulRFE®) technology invented by EMulate Therapeutics, Inc., a technology company based in Seattle, WA. The ulRFE® technology, in which EMulate has invested approximately US$70 million to develop over the past 15 years, is backed by 32 patents that relate to Hapbee. Hapbee has exclusive global licenses for the non-medical use of ulRFE® technology. You can learn more about therapeutic applications of ulRFE® technology at emulatetx.com
EMulate Therapeutics uses a specialized liquid helium-cooled, Superconducting Quantum Interference Unit (SQUID) magnetometer to detect “real-time” changes in the magnetic environment (10^-15 Tesla) of solvated molecules of interest. Temporal data, representing changes in the SQUID magnetic environment, are analyzed and stored, and can be used to “play” a magnetic field environment.
SQUID magnetometers are currently the only products capable of the extreme sensitivity, accuracy, and broad-banded performance necessary for the real-time detection of magnetic field events associated with the movement of electrostatic surface potentials.
From its molecular SQUID research, EMulate creates a range of very precise magnetic signals. Hapbee then takes these signals and, after preliminary safety testing with animals, conducts blinded tests with a small group of users to identify which signals perform best. A behavioral evaluation is used upon conclusion of the blinded tests to select signals to move forward in Hapbee’s development process.
To determine how strong of a magnetic field we need to use to create the desired sensation or feeling, we conduct experiments exploring a range of stimulation strengths. Although each signal is slightly different in terms of exact output power (roughly 40 milligauss), all of Hapbee's signals have been tested and confirmed to fall within applicable International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) safe exposure guidelines for low-frequency magnetic fields.
The signals used solely by EMulate Therapeutics apply to medical-grade cancer treatment and have undergone rigorous safety studies, experiencing no serious adverse events related to the product. Furthermore, Hapbee’s protocol for safety in its consumer products involves animal testing. Our initial testing for long-term exposure in animals showed that mice have no notable negative behavioral responses or weight fluctuations to 15 days of continuous Hapbee signal stimulation.
Hapbee is launching with six signals: Happy, Alert, Focus, Relax, Calm, and Deep Sleep.
Happy: Known as the “happy hour” signal, Happy is here to help loosen you up and make you feel less stressed. Happy is the social lubricant you need to enjoy time with friends and family or unwind after a long day.
Alert: Here comes the energy! Inspired by energy drinks, Alert is great for studying, before a big meeting, on a long road trip, and while playing music or sports.
Focus: As a hybrid between Alert and Relax, Focus was created so you can handle challenging situations with creativity and flow. It’s like being able to take a stimulation break whenever and wherever you want.
Relax: Let your body slowly melt away with Relax. By helping to soothe tension in your body, Relax is the ideal signal after a workout, during movies and long flights, or just before bed.
Calm: Give your mind the much-needed break it deserves with Calm. This signal is the definition of “chill,” and can help you mellow out throughout the day. Great after a long workday or any time you want to find your inner Zen.
Deep Sleep: The Deep Sleep signal helps you wind down at the end of a long day. Let the gentle vibes wash over you as you prepare for rest and relaxation. Deep Sleep is perfect during bedtime routines or in the middle of a restless night.
Developing new signals is a core focus moving forward as we look to expand our portfolio of sensations.
We collected responses from over 135 users trying Hapbee signals on either EMulate hardware or early Hapbee prototypes in an open-use setting for variable time periods and found that over 91% felt the signal they chose in a one-off, unblinded situation.
We saw similar response rates on a signal by signal basis, with 90-94% of people responding that they felt something during a first use. Even though some users were not always able to describe the sensation well after a single exposure, they noted a definite response.
We used a pre- and post- survey UWIST survey instrument to gauge the emotional affect of users before and after stimulation, as well as self-reports on whether users felt the signal they expected based on the signal descriptions present in-app.
Across 93 sessions, which involved repeated use of various signals by onboarded users (e.g., users who experienced 3 or more plays of each signal for 30 minutes), testers reported feeling the sensation associated with the signal over 90% of the time.
We then tested whether users could tell the difference between two signals and sham (no signal). In a series of tests, we exposed onboarded users to two sessions and asked them to identify a blinded third session, as follows:
In sham experiments, onboarded users were able to correctly discriminate signal from sham in 100% of cases. During sham experiments where onboarded users had to choose between dissimilar feelings (e.g., Alert and Deep Sleep) and sham, they correctly identified the specific signal and sham 100% of the time. In 17% of sham experiments, onboarded users correctly distinguished between signal and sham, but misidentified the signal when choosing between similar feelings (e.g., Calm and Relax).
We found that new users (individuals who tried a Hapbee signal three or fewer times) reported a lower rate of feeling a sensation from Hapbee signals when compared to onboarded users. Approximately 75% of non-onboarded users felt a sensation from Hapbee signals on their first use, while roughly 25% reported they did not feel a sensation or were unsure.
In this instance, we did not ask non-onboarded users to identify a specific signal, but rather whether or not they felt a sensation. After completing onboarding, 100% of users reported feeling a sensation from a Hapbee signal. This suggests that repeated use of Hapbee (aka onboarding) improves the overall user experience.
From May 15, 2020 to August 15, 2020, we logged nearly 10,000 hours of stimulation time with users. No negative reactions have been reported to date.
External magnetic fields have been shown to be capable of triggering responses and changes in biological systems. For an overview of how magnetic fields can cause effects in animal models and humans, please read the technical white paper from our technology partner, EMulate Therapeutics.