App that measures time spent indoors and out

Prescription for nature

You know heading outdoors is good for you. But what if your smartphone could quantify how much nature you’re getting?

A University of Oregon spinoff, NatureQuant just launched NatureDose, an app that uses technology, big data, and artificial intelligence to measure your time indoors and out—and how green that time is.

An emerging body of research confirms that time in nature lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and the stress hormone cortisol. But how much time does that take, and what are the benefits of different places?

Your NatureDose score provides a precise measurement, says NatureQuant cofounder and Chief Science Officer Chris Minson, the UO’s Kenneth H. and Kenda M. Singer Professor in Human Physiology. The score helps you set goals and improve habits, he explains, and could even be used by doctors or insurance companies to promote health and create “nature prescriptions.”

“People are often counting steps, and trying to get to 10,000 per day,” says Minson. “We believe where you take those steps is just as important.”

The effort spans several of the university’s Academic Initiatives, including Innovation, Data Science, the Environment and Sport and Wellness. The University Venture Development fund helped Minson and NatureQuant launch their new app.

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