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Fit Tech People: Richard Hanbury

Founder and CEO, Sana

I was in Yemen, close to the capital, Sana’a, when I had the accident that put me in a wheelchair and gave me a chronic nerve damage pain problem. This led me to develop the underlying technology of Sana

Published in Fit Tech 2020 issue 2

Tell us a bit about Sana
Sana is a non-addictive simple mask and headphones you wear on your head. The device uses audio visual stimulation to increase balance between the left and right side of your brain leading to greater relaxation. Ongoing use of your Sana mask resembles the effect of long-term meditative practices, which leads to a more restful state overall. Sana can clear a busy mind and accelerate mental and physical recovery.

What was your career background prior to founding Sana?
I was studying Arabic at University. My second year was in Yemen, and I was close to the capital, Sana’a, when I had the accident that put me in a wheelchair and gave me a chronic nerve damage pain problem. This led me to develop the underlying technology of Sana.

How did you develop Sana?
I used all of the research into how meditation effects long-term changes in the brain. The aim was to create meditation from the outside in, in order to help my own pain problem.

It took nine months to develop the first prototype, and 18 years of improving it to get to where we are now.

Tell us more about the technology – how does it work?
Sana is a wearable device that delivers a patented sequence of Audiovisual Stimulation (AVS). AVS synchronises groups of neurons with frequencies of light and sound presented to the eyes and ears.

When the brain is given a stimulus through the eyes and ears it emits a responsive electrical pattern. The brain follows a complex series of electrical patterns every time it goes into healthy relaxation, helping to induce deep relaxation and meditation. This leads to reduction in stress, improved sleep management and enhanced rest and relaxation.

Is Sana better than more traditional meditation?
The biggest reason why so many people start to meditate and then give up is called the ‘Goldilocks Problem’. This refers to the lengthy amount of time it takes a beginner to get benefit from meditation. This problem is more severe if you have stress issues or other health issues.

We offer a zero effort way to get to where meditation gets you.

We provide the benefits to the brain in a fraction of the time of meditation. What we don’t do is provide any of the wisdom benefits of meditation – there is no shortcut to that.

So for just relaxing when you most need it, we are more effective with less effort, but we don’t replace the broader benefits of meditation.

Is there scientific evidence that supports the use of Sana?
Sana has conducted pilot studies that show scientific support for its use, although it doesn’t have FDA approvals in these areas yet.

In our pilots, participants indicated a 74 per cent positive response, describing it as calming, life-changing, meditative and relaxing.

You accelerated the launch of Sana due to the pandemic. Why?
COVID-19 has brought with it a crisis in mental health and anxiety, with people in more urgent need of a relaxation method that can be used at home, and help to manage sleep improvement.

How has the Beta product been received?
So far the launch has gone smoothly. As with all launches we have had many things to improve and we’re doing that. We’re very grateful for the patience and feedback of our early customers.

What are your plans for Sana?
Over the next two years we’ll be carrying out multiple clinical trials, from the existing study at Mount Sinai, to the next study at Duke, to Cleveland Clinic, UPenn and many others. We plan to get multiple FDA approvals across all the areas that we believe we can help people in, so that we can give people relief and greater control over their lives.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
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Sony and Precor are collaborating. Henrik Bengtsson, head of business at Advagym, tells Wendy Golledge about Sony’s latest foray into fitness

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A new, smart exercise mask will analyse breath for a wide range of performance-related indicators, as Tom Walker explains
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Get Fit Tech
Sign up for the free digital edition of Fit Tech magazine and the free weekly Fit Tech ezine
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Fit Tech People: Richard Hanbury

Founder and CEO, Sana

I was in Yemen, close to the capital, Sana’a, when I had the accident that put me in a wheelchair and gave me a chronic nerve damage pain problem. This led me to develop the underlying technology of Sana

Published in Fit Tech 2020 issue 2

Tell us a bit about Sana
Sana is a non-addictive simple mask and headphones you wear on your head. The device uses audio visual stimulation to increase balance between the left and right side of your brain leading to greater relaxation. Ongoing use of your Sana mask resembles the effect of long-term meditative practices, which leads to a more restful state overall. Sana can clear a busy mind and accelerate mental and physical recovery.

What was your career background prior to founding Sana?
I was studying Arabic at University. My second year was in Yemen, and I was close to the capital, Sana’a, when I had the accident that put me in a wheelchair and gave me a chronic nerve damage pain problem. This led me to develop the underlying technology of Sana.

How did you develop Sana?
I used all of the research into how meditation effects long-term changes in the brain. The aim was to create meditation from the outside in, in order to help my own pain problem.

It took nine months to develop the first prototype, and 18 years of improving it to get to where we are now.

Tell us more about the technology – how does it work?
Sana is a wearable device that delivers a patented sequence of Audiovisual Stimulation (AVS). AVS synchronises groups of neurons with frequencies of light and sound presented to the eyes and ears.

When the brain is given a stimulus through the eyes and ears it emits a responsive electrical pattern. The brain follows a complex series of electrical patterns every time it goes into healthy relaxation, helping to induce deep relaxation and meditation. This leads to reduction in stress, improved sleep management and enhanced rest and relaxation.

Is Sana better than more traditional meditation?
The biggest reason why so many people start to meditate and then give up is called the ‘Goldilocks Problem’. This refers to the lengthy amount of time it takes a beginner to get benefit from meditation. This problem is more severe if you have stress issues or other health issues.

We offer a zero effort way to get to where meditation gets you.

We provide the benefits to the brain in a fraction of the time of meditation. What we don’t do is provide any of the wisdom benefits of meditation – there is no shortcut to that.

So for just relaxing when you most need it, we are more effective with less effort, but we don’t replace the broader benefits of meditation.

Is there scientific evidence that supports the use of Sana?
Sana has conducted pilot studies that show scientific support for its use, although it doesn’t have FDA approvals in these areas yet.

In our pilots, participants indicated a 74 per cent positive response, describing it as calming, life-changing, meditative and relaxing.

You accelerated the launch of Sana due to the pandemic. Why?
COVID-19 has brought with it a crisis in mental health and anxiety, with people in more urgent need of a relaxation method that can be used at home, and help to manage sleep improvement.

How has the Beta product been received?
So far the launch has gone smoothly. As with all launches we have had many things to improve and we’re doing that. We’re very grateful for the patience and feedback of our early customers.

What are your plans for Sana?
Over the next two years we’ll be carrying out multiple clinical trials, from the existing study at Mount Sinai, to the next study at Duke, to Cleveland Clinic, UPenn and many others. We plan to get multiple FDA approvals across all the areas that we believe we can help people in, so that we can give people relief and greater control over their lives.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
interview

Digital ecosystem

The digitisation of the sector was going to happen anyway. COVID-19 has simply accelerated the digital transformation
people

Richard Hanbury

Founder and CEO, Sana
I was in Yemen, close to the capital, Sana’a, when I had the accident that put me in a wheelchair and gave me a chronic nerve damage pain problem. This led me to develop the underlying technology of Sana
interview

Sharon Hegarty, Samsung

We envisage a world where someone’s smart home can support their fitness regime
interview

Will Ahmed, Whoop

Whoop is taking wearable technology to the next level, providing deeper insights into individuals’ physiology and enabling optimised training. Founder and CEO Will Ahmed talks to Steph Eaves about the importance of personalised feedback
people

Ian Mullane

Founder, Keepme
Using predictive and machine learning models, operators can hyper-personalise engagement

Functional wearables

A new ultra-thin, stretchable electronic material could be a game changer for wearable tech
people

Patrick Lucey

VP of AI, Stats Perform
We can capture tracking data from historical videos, enabling us to do large scale comparisons of players, such as Michael Jordan, across eras
interview

Daniel Sobhani, Freeletics

People are set up for failure by the fitness industry with false promises and unrealistic expectations. We’ve always wanted to put a stop to this, and with Mindset Coaching we’re taking the next step

Create your own energy

A breakthrough in technology means wearable devices and other health and fitness products could soon be self-powered. Steph Eaves talks to Dr Ishara Dharmasena to find out how this could impact health and fitness
interview

Paul Bowman, Wexer

The future of fitness is hybrid, says the CEO of Wexer. He shares his thoughts on why and how the industry should embrace this change
interview

Forme Life: Trent Ward & Yves Béhar

I think the big ‘a-ha’ moment was when we had the idea that a mirror would be the best way for somebody to learn
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Not everyone can afford an expensive piece of fitness equipment or a personal trainer, but everyone has a smartphone
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