The history behind the making of bobi

The history behind the making of bobi

The bobi story, at its inception, involves an unassuming coastal village located in Turkey. At that time bobi’s founder, Damien Thomas, was attending a yoga retreat. Damien had recognised that months of isolation, and exposure to substantial work pressure, were taking a psychological toll. He was leading the first international war crimes investigation involving the Islamic State in Syria.

Damien in Turkey
Damien in Antakya, Southern Turkey. 2014

After returning to practice as a psychologist, Damien observed the impact of mental health issues, particularly among school students. At the time Damien was working as a psychologist in an outreach clinic at a local high school. Between appointments, he rhythmically opened and closed his hand to match a slow breathing rate. This was a profound moment on the journey towards the creation of bobi.

Client after client, no matter the demographic, had presented with dysfunctional breathing patterns. Damien had attempted numerous interventions to support his clients in learning and maintaining, better breathing habits. Very few of his clients found the available supports, including mobile phone apps, to be beneficial. The intersection between what his clients needed, and his own experience, motivated to bring bobi to fruition.

No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.  – Victor Hugo

The long and burdensome journey of bringing a concept to its ultimate conclusion begins with the testing of ideas. Damien had settled, conceptually, on what bobi should do. But translating the concept to physical reality relied on an embrace of the abstract.

The Humble Sprinkler Head

History Behind bobi
The humble sprinkler head!

The humble sprinkler head represented the first and most significant concept of bobi’s physical development. Damien, at one point, held the sprinkler loosely in his hand and realized he had stumbled on a key part of the puzzle. Incorporating a valve onto bobi, allowing for ‘control of fluid release’, remains the cornerstone of the device’s functionality.

Over the months that followed, a natural curiosity was chained with a determination to provide a method of support to his clients. Damien eventually sought collaboration with Australia’s leading industrial design firm, Design + Industry, and a period of scientific exploration began.

History Behind bobi
bobi – early design sketches. Courtesy of Design + Industry

Damien remained true to his initial vision: Improve the lives of any person through a simple and accessible device that coaches better breathing.

He also recognized the importance of physical touch, including as a fundamental human need. Design elements included the incorporation of a back of hand strap that responded with a gentle touch when bobi was compressed.

The result: bobi

history behind making of bobi
bobi internal render image. Courtesy of Design + Industry

A simple, durable, patented device to coach its users in a preferred breathing practice. And that is only the beginning of the ‘bobi’ journey. Overwhelming scientific research has not only confirmed the importance of breathing in regulating emotions. Numerous papers are now stating that the very practice of squeezing a tactile device in the left hand has many neuro-sensory benefits, including regulating cortisol, enhanced cognition, sports performance, and psychological readiness.

bobi was invented with the clear intention of supporting anyone to improve their well-being.

Written by Damien Thomas BA(Psych); GradDipPsych; MPsych(Org), MAPS

Mr. Damien Thomas completed his Master in Organisational Psychology at Macquarie University, Sydney. He has over 20 years’ experience as a psychologist and has specialised in the field of adolescent psychology. Damien also worked within the field of national security, including counter terrorism operations, and war crimes investigations. Through his previous work he has featured in numerous international media publications including: The Australian, The Globe and Mail, New York Times, and BBC (radio).

It All Starts With a Squeeze

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