Review: Reliefband Flex

The ReliefBand Flex doesn’t look like much and, being the skeptic that I am, I didn’t think it would do much at all. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill smartwatch or fitness tracker; it’s a device with a very specific mission: to put the brakes on nausea.

I’d like to note that I couldn’t take firsthand photos of this thing because it ended up in the car and is now a dedicated tool in the fight against nausea for my 14-year-old. This means it’s also probably covered in milkshake and ketchup.

What is the Reliefband Flex?

Right out of the box, the Flex makes its purpose clear. It’s designed with a no-nonsense aesthetic, eschewing the flashy look of consumer wearables for a more utilitarian design. This is a gadget that means business, and its business is making sure you’re not sidelined by motion sickness or morning sickness.

Basically, the user interface looks like a telephone dial. This model has a replaceable battery and is water-resistant. It’s also compatible with other smartwatch bands, which means you can attach your Apple or Samsung watch to it. It’s actually quite cute to see the two devices piggybacking on each other.

The device itself administers a light electric shock at certain intervals. It is scary at first but once you get used to it, the feeling goes away completely. In short, once you turn it on, your nausea goes away. I recently tested it myself during a ferry ride – I usually get a little queasy – and it worked almost immediately.

Again, I’m a skeptic but I think testing this thing has made me a believer. The mild shock diverts the attention and, in theory, moderates the centers in the brain that cause nausea. It’s quite a surprising feeling and one that I can’t really cede to the placebo effect.

How does the Reliefband Flex work?

The real magic of the Flex lies in its tech. It uses something called neuromodulation – a fancy term for using electrical signals to, well, modulate the nervous system. In simpler terms, it’s like hacking your body’s signals to prevent the feeling of nausea before it can even start. And from my testing, it’s not just smoke and mirrors; this thing works. Whether it was my son strapping this on during a particularly nauseating car ride or after a regrettable encounter with a spinning office chair, the ReliefBand Flex proved its mettle.

The user experience is pretty straightforward, with easy controls and a simple band that wraps around your wrist. It’s comfortable enough, although you’re always aware of its presence – a small price to pay for keeping your stomach contents where they belong. The battery life is decent, not extraordinary, but it’ll get you through several episodes of nausea without a hitch. The company claims 350 hours on one battery, which seems about right.

If you’re worried about the shocks, don’t be. The Reliefband Flex gives you the slightest of shocks, more akin to a static electricity zing than anything else. The feeling can be unsettling at first and is definitely not for younger kids. That said, it works so it might be worth the minor discomfort.

In conclusion, the ReliefBand Flex stands as a testament to the wonders of targeted wearable technology. It’s not trying to be a jack-of-all-trades; it’s a master of one – keeping nausea at bay. For anyone who’s ever felt queasy on a boat, in a car, or after a dubious meal, this gadget might just be your new best friend. It’s practical, effective, and frankly, a bit of a marvel in how it manages to bring relief without a pill in sight.

The Flex is available now for $179. If you have a kid with carsickness, you probably should snap it up.

John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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