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User Guide

Welcome to the User Guide. We’re so glad you’re here! This guide was created to take the guesswork out of using the Awake Labs technology. Inside you’ll find everything from what to expect, to troubleshooting and success stories from other users.

Use the menu on the left hand side to guide you through the content.

What's Inside

This guide is an ever evolving resource for the Awake Labs technology. Read this document soon after your smartwatch has arrived, or in anticipation of it’s arrival.  After you’ve been using the technology for a few weeks, return to this User Guide to gather all the information you didn’t know you needed the first time you read it. This guide will continue to be updated as our technology evolves and as new insights are shared by users like yourself.


Contact Us Button

In the Awake Labs mobile app, there is a feature called ‘Contact Us’. Open the mobile app and you’ll see three lines in the top left corner. Tap that and the sidebar menu will come up. Look down the list for the “Contact Us” option. Use that to send us a message and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Mobile App

The term mobile app refers to the Awake Labs app you use on your iOS or Android device. You can use this app on a phone or tablet. 


The term smartwatch refers to the Samsung Galaxy watch. The Awake Labs technology uses this smartwatch to measure strong emotions. 

Our Technology or the Awake Labs Technology

When the term “our technology” appears in this User Guide, it refers to the mobile app and the smartwatch app. 


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What is the technology?

The Awake Labs technology consists of both a mobile app and a smartwatch app. The smartwatch app is compatible with Samsung Galaxy watches as well as Fitbit watches. The mobile app can be used on both Apple and Android devices, including phones and tablets.

The smartwatch app uses a clinically-validated algorithm that was developed by scientists at Holland Bloorview. It measures strong emotions like stress, anger, or excitement. The mobile app displays the information from the smartwatch in real-time. You can use that information to recognize strong emotions and intervene before a situation escalates. 


How does it work?

The Awake Labs technology is designed to alert you when the person wearing the smartwatch is in the early stages of a strong emotion. There are two things that are important to understand about this.

The first thing to understand is that notifications do not always indicate anxiety. Sometimes notifications can also indicate strong feelings of anger or joy. 

Second, it is possible that you will get a notification and the person wearing the smartwatch appears to be doing just fine. This is because the technology alerts you in the early stages of a strong emotion. You can think of a notification as a hint that something might be up. This gives you the chance to step in early and prevent the situation from escalating. 

The Awake Labs technology is not a silver bullet solution. It is another tool in your toolbox that can help you better understand daily stress and anxiety. It will take some time getting used to – but the effort is worth it!

Need help using our technology?

Awake Labs is here to help you every step of the way. Open the Awake Labs mobile app and you’ll see three lines in the top left corner. Tap that and the sidebar menu will come up. Look down the list for the “Contact Us” option. Use that to send us a message and we will get back to you within 24 hours. You can also email the team at

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The Basics

The Basics

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The Home Screen

As soon as you open the Awake Labs mobile app, you're greeted with your Home Screen—a comprehensive dashboard designed to provide you with valuable insights into your or your loved ones emotional well-being and daily activities. Here's what you'll find:

  1. Current State
    At the top of the screen, you'll see the "Current State" section. This segment offers a real-time assessment of your emotional state or that of the person you're supporting. It categorizes emotions into four levels of intensity: Neutral, Mild, Moderate, and Strong. Additionally, you'll find important details such as your watch's battery status and the last time it connected to your phone. This ensures your watch is set up correctly and maintains a proper connection.

  2. Daily Summary
    Moving down the screen, you'll encounter the "Daily Summary" section. Here, a timeline of your day unfolds, displaying the intensity level for each hour. This feature serves as a helpful tool for understanding the major events and emotional fluctuations throughout your day. Pay attention to the colors on the graph: purple indicates high stress and strong emotion, while light blue indicates a calm state of mind.

  3. Notification History
    Further down, you'll find the "Notification History" section. This area provides a list of notifications received. Simply tap on the three dots to view or edit notification details.


We've also included in-app tutorials to help you make the most of the Awake Labs mobile app. Access them by tapping the three lines in the top left corner and selecting "Tutorials" from the menu. These short yet comprehensive tutorials cover crucial functions such as navigating the home screen, managing participants, handling notifications, and resetting baselines.

What do Neutral, Moderate and Strong mean?
The Neutral, Moderate or Strong states on the mobile app show you the relative level of strong emotion experienced by the person wearing the watch. As you use the technology, you might notice some times where the mobile app says “Strong”, but the person wearing the watch is not showing any obvious signs of a strong emotion. This is part of the design of the Awake Labs technology. It measures emotions from their early stages, even before you can see it.



A notification is sent to your mobile device when the smartwatch has measured a distinct change in strong emotion for 5 minutes or longer. A second notification is sent to you if that distinct change has lasted more than 10 minutes.

  • Indicate a increase in strong emotion

  • Are not always related to anxiety

  • Are an early warning. You may not be able to see any obvious signs to tell you what the person wearing the smartwatch is feeling.

  • Are not prescriptive. You decide how you respond.

Why our technology sends you notifications

Notifications are an early warning. You can think of them as hints that something might be up.  Notifications are designed to tell you that the person wearing the watch might not be doing too well, and that it might be a good time to check in with them or do something different.

Stress, anxiety, and other strong emotions are not always easy to see, so when you get a notification, you may not be able to see any obvious signs that the person wearing the smartwatch is reacting to something. This is where you’ll need to use your detective skills and ask yourself, “What could have caused this notification? Are there any hidden signs or cues that can help me understand how the person is feeling?”

What to do when you’re notified

When you receive a notification, you’ll need to use your detective skills & try to get to the bottom of what is going on. Look closely at the environment, and focus on the person you support. Can you see anything that may have caused the notification? Are there any subtle cues that can tell you what the person is feeling?

Notifications are time stamped, so even if you aren’t in wi-fi range, your smartwatch can store a couple of hours worth of data that you can look at later. It is also important to keep in mind that our technology may be sending you notifications when the person you support is feeling joy, or excitement. 


How you react to notifications is totally up to you. There is no best way to respond. Many of you will have access to strategies and interventions. You might have come up with them yourself, or with the help of a therapist. It will take some time getting used to being notified of strong emotion spikes and learning what the best response is for you. This process will take some patience and hard work, but once you get there it is worth it!


You can take a look at some of the success stories in this guide to see what others have done. You will also be able to participate in weekly support webinars with Awake Labs and other users of the technology. During these webinars, you can ask for help and learn how other people respond to notifications. 

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Notes are a way for you to keep track of your observations and add context to the information collected by the smartwatch. Think of them as part of your detective toolkit. Write down what you think may have caused a notification. Do you notice anything different about the person wearing the watch? You can also comment on the strategy you used to respond to the notification. Over time, you may be able to spot trends and patterns in your notes that can help you better understand daily stress and anxiety.

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When you receive a notification, you will be prompted to add a comment. If you are able to – we know it’s not always possible – it’s best to add a note whenever you receive a notification.


Why should you add notes?

Anything you notice in the moment may be relevant to increases in strong emotion. Making a note of them can help you figure out what is causing the notification. Down the road, you’ll also be able to look at longer term patterns and trends. All the notes you make will appear in your summaries along with data that’s collected by the smartwatch.

Historical Data

Historical Data

The mobile app allows you to view your data and comments by the hour, day and week. Within the app, you have two screens for accessing this information: the Home screen, which provides a consolidated view of your daily activities in the Daily Summary section, and the Insights screen, where you can access weekly data.

Reviewing your historical data 
  • As you go about your day, you might not always have the time and space to closely examine the Home Screen. That's okay! Whenever you have a moment, you can use the Daily Summary section on your home screen to check how the person wearing the watch has been feeling recently.

  • Let’s say you leave Wi-Fi range for a while. You won’t be able to see real-time data, but your smartwatch can store several hours of data when it is offline. When your smartwatch reconnects to the internet after you’ve been away, you can use the Daily Summary section to see what the smartwatch measured while it was disconnected.

  • At the end of a busy day, use your home screen to review everything that happened. You can remind yourself of what you learned today, or which strategy worked best for you.

Review and edit your notes 
  • When you receive a notification, you might not always have the opportunity to write a note immediately. When you find a moment, navigate to the Awake Labs mobile app, then access the Notes section from the navigation bar at the bottom. Utilize the ‘+’ button to write a note or add more details.

Multiple people using the mobile app
  • The Insights and Daily Summary screens can be helpful in situations where there is more than one individual involved in supporting a person who has an intellectual disability. In these situations, you might not always be around to see what is going on. You can use historical data to see how the person was feeling while you were away and quickly get up to date!

Identifying patterns and trends
  • On your insights screen, by looking at comments and trends over time, you may notice certain things that cause strong emotions to escalate. This takes time, patience, and consistent note taking.

  • It may not be that easy to spot trends and it will take time to learn the best ways to manage this information. Awake Labs is here to help. You can use the Contact Us button in the mobile app, or email the team at

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Sometimes technology is finicky. This section is designed to help you sort out the times when technology is just not being your friend.

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Our best guesses to troubleshoot your problems

If your smartwatch and app aren’t working the way you think they should, follow these steps. You’ll want to work your way down this list. Try the first thing, if that doesn’t work, try the second and so on.

  1. Quit the app on your mobile device and reload it.

  2. Turn wi-fi on and off again (first on your smartwatch, then on your mobile device).

  3. Turn your devices off and on again. First turn your smartwatch off and on, and if that doesn’t solve it, restart your mobile device too.

  4. Install and reinstall the app on your mobile device. 

  5. Follow the in-app tutorial.

  6. If none of these steps help solve the problem, contact us directly. Open the Awake Labs app on your mobile device. You’ll see three lines in the top left corner. Tap that and the sidebar menu will come up. Look down the list for the “Contact Us” option. Use that to send us a message and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Success Stories

Success Stories

There is no best way to use the Awake Labs technology. Here are some stories from people who have been able to make our technology helpful to their situation. These examples may help you see how our technology can work for you! 

Please remember – The success stories you are about to read happened after people had been using our technology for many months. The people in these stories used patience, perseverance, and support from the team at Awake Labs to get used to using the technology, learn how to respond to notifications and use their historical data. If you need help while you’re using the technology, please send a message to Awake Labs using “Contact Us” in the mobile app. You can also email our team at for help.

A note on privacy

The names and details of each user have been changed to protect their privacy and they have given their consent to share what they’ve learned with you. Want to share your story? Send an email to and one of the Awake Labs team members will reach out. 

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Sam, Building Trust with Caregivers

Sam got the smartwatch and app a few months ago. Sam and his team were hoping that the notifications would allow his caregivers to better understand how he was feeling and help stressful situations from getting worse. 

After a few weeks using the app, Sam’s main caregiver noticed that whenever she got a notification and Sam was anxious, Sam would be picking at his fingernails. Since he likes one on one conversations, Sam’s caregiver would initiate a conversation whenever she noticed Sam picking his fingernails or when she got a notification. 

She would sit with Sam and say “I notice you’re picking your fingers… can you tell me what’s going on?” They would then discuss how Sam was feeling and what was bothering him, and would come up with ways to help him work through his emotions. 

Sam’s caregiver now knows what to look for to see if Sam is feeling anxious. She feels much more confident in her ability to spot when Sam is anxious and she knows the right time to step in. Because Sam’s caregiver is always right there whenever Sam starts to worry, Sam really trusts his caregiver to support him. This greater sense of trust and communication has allowed Sam to try new things and avoid several stressful situations from unravelling. 

Sam’s caregiver continues to use the smartwatch and app to monitor Sam’s anxiety and is working to identify other signs and signals of anxiety. 

Abby, Managing Stress in Social Situations


Abby is very sensitive to noises and movements in her space. This can make social situations and gatherings quite challenging to navigate for Abby and her parents. Abby’s parents purchased our technology hoping that it would help make social events more comfortable for Abby. 

At first the notifications were challenging to interpret. Abby’s parents didn’t quite know how to figure out what they meant, or even how to respond. But they kept at it. By adding lots of comments to these notifications and reviewing the summary data, they started to notice some patterns. They observed that giving Abby a break from noisy people or suggesting that they go to another room to let Abby take a breath allowed Abby to avoid feeling overwhelmed and she could continue to be engaged with others. 


Abby’s family was thrilled with their discovery. They were feeling brave enough that they decided to have their first family gathering in many years. At one point during the party, they got a notification from the app. Looking around, they saw that the younger kids were playing loudly. They managed to keep the event comfortable for Abby by simply asking the kids to play in a different room for a bit. This allowed Abby’s nervous system the break it needed to avoid becoming overwhelmed. 


Abby’s family continues to learn new signs and signals about Abby’s wellbeing  and they’re always trying new things to make previously challenging situations easier for Abby.

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