Philadelphia Start-Up Cogwear Develops Wearable ‘Anxiety Thermometer’

PHILADELPHIA August 16, 2021 ─ The Philadelphia-based startup, Cogwear, is creating a wearable anxiety thermometer based on cutting edge technology co-developed with the University of Pennsylvania. The company was recently awarded $256,000 as part of the Small Business Innovation Research Program from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to accelerate development and commercialization in light of the global mental health epidemic.

Nearly 265 million people worldwide suffer from anxiety or depression, including about 40 million Americans. Cogwear’s product looks like a simple athletic headband, but packs clinical-grade sensors that measure brain activity linked to anxiety, depression, attention and fatigue.

“Our hope is that Cogwear will help people with mental illness get diagnosed and treated better and faster. It’s wearable technology that combines the comfort of a soft, athletic headband with the power of clinical-grade sensors that accurately measure anxiety and depression,” said Cogwear CEO David Yonce.

With the NSF grant, the company is refining and miniaturizing its tiny electroencephalography (EEG) sensors that analyze the brain’s electrical activity.

“Until now, EEG has been limited to research laboratories and patients must sit still while they are monitored. Our goal is to adapt this technology so we can offer clinical-grade data to patients at home or on-the-go, and at an affordable price point,” explained Dr. Michael Platt, a neuroscience pioneer from the University of Pennsylvania and one of Cogwear’s co-founders.

Cogwear’s headband is made of comfortable, breathable fabric. Like a smartwatch for the brain, it is connected to an app that collects patient data in real-time and shows a dashboard of historical trends. Patients can share this information with their doctors, therapists, psychiatrists or other healthcare providers through a private portal.

“We believe that Cogwear will help diagnose and treat mental health more accurately and quickly by offering a true physiological vital sign based on brain activity. Just as a thermometer measures someone’s temperature and tells a doctor about what’s happening in the body, Cogwear can measure what’s happening in the brain. This way, patients and their care providers can collaborate remotely and better understand whether therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes are effective,” Yonce said.

To learn more about Cogwear, visit


About the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Programs

America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $2 million to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.5 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. For more information, visit


Media inquiries:

Jackie MacAllen

Download Cogwear’s press kit here via Google Drive.


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