Hello, my name is Simon Wegerif, I’m a biomedical engineer and inventor who lives with my family in the beautiful New Forest in Hampshire, UK.
My professional background is in signal processing, having been a pioneer of digital broadcasting at the BBC in London and Philips Electronics in the UK and Silicon Valley, where I managed a number of technology startup activities.
Recreationally, I have been a keen, but not very talented endurance athlete most of my adult life, firstly in rowing, then running, triathlon and nowadays I am a competitive cyclist.
Heart rate variability
I first came across heart rate variability (HRV) in an article by coach and Wattbike physiologist Eddie Fletcher, who had been using HRV with elite athletes for some time. This started me on a journey to find out a lot more about HRV, and I started reading a lot of original research papers (I’m now up to about 700!) and reaching out to some of the authors to gain a deeper understanding. Eventually I concluded that a simple but scientifically valid phone app was possible, and I filed US & international patents for the novel techniques I had developed. From the first working app, it was 9 months until the testing was complete and Apple approved ithlete on the iPhone, at which point I decided to found HRV Fit Ltd as the commercial company, initially just myself but now with a dedicated and very talented small team.
Since launching ithlete, I have developed a research collaboration for heart failure rehabilitation and also made custom versions of ithlete available to business customers, both in tele health applications as well as elite sports. One of these also stimulated us to develop a novel finger pulse sensor, which has been validated & refined by University of Sydney. The evolutions and continuous development has further driven my interest in and need to keep abreast of the latest HRV research.
HRV has been a journey for me personally as well. Since starting to monitor myself at least once a day (my ithlete database has over 1200 entries), I have discovered a number of things about my own health & body that have been revealing. One is the impact of mental stress, which can lower your HRV (and hence your body’s reserves) as much as intensive sports training. Thanks to a suggestion by my Wife, Lindy, I discovered that deep breathing was far more effective in relieving mental stress than I would have thought – it sent my HRV to new highs which were sustained over the longer term, and stimulated me to create another app for what’s termed ‘coherent breathing’ that I have teamed up with an old friend to bring to market this year.