December 28, 2018

PigPug: The Headset That Treats ADHD

PigPug is a company that is developing a headset to treat ADHD that works through neurofeedback, a form of therapeutic intervention. I caught up with CEO Vitali Karpeichyk to learn more about the current state of the NYC-based company.

Tell me the story of how PigPug was founded.

PigPug was founded in August 2017. That July I met with my friend, a developmental disorder therapist, and she said there are a lot of kids with ADHD.

After asking her about the symptoms of ADHD and passing some simple tests, I realized that I have suffered from ADHD since I was 6 years old. From there, I wanted to come up with a better solution to treat it than was available at the moment.

What was the problem you were seeing in how ADHD was being treated?

First of all, let’s clarify: what’s ADHD?

Imagine that you want to focus on something, but you can’t. Imagine that you want to relax and sit in one place, but you can’t. Your brain does not allow you to.

Individuals with ADHD can be very successful in life. However, without identification and proper treatment, ADHD may have serious consequences, including failure in school, family stress and disruption, and depression among other things.

There are three key solutions that exist to treat ADHD: medications, psychological interventions, and neurofeedback.

As for medications like Ritalin and Adderall, all of them are recreational drugs that can quickly lead to addiction. Children can get addicted to the drugs from childhood. Adverse effects are not the only problem of medications; one more problem with medical treatment is that it’s quite hard to choose the correct medication and dose.

Psychological intervention is another method for ADHD treatment. Yes, compared to medications, it has long-term effect, but it’s also expensive and time-consuming.

Neurofeedback is what we work with. This method requires NO pills, there are NO side effects, it’s NOT expensive, it’s scalable, and it has long-term effect.

For those who don't know, what does PigPug do? How does your headset work?

We put a wearable neuroheadset onto a kid’s head and measure their current brain activity signal and focus level. We then teach the wearer through a game how to handle, maintain and increase their focus level. So your brain learns how to focus and relax, which is extremely important for the children with ADHD.

How has the company evolved over time?

I believe it’s very important for a startup, at least in the beginning, to find the people with the passion to help people. And in our team, we have these people. We are completely different people with different backgrounds in life, but we all are tied to ADHD somehow.

What are your hiring plans?

We are looking for people with a passion to help kids with ADHD. Particularly, software/hardware engineers, product designers, and others.

Where does PigPug go from here?

We want to complete our neuroheadset and start service ASAP. We will work with some neurofeedback trainers and do customer development to provide the best service possible.

Alexander Culafi is a Staff Writer for VentureFizz. He also edits and produces The VentureFizz Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @culafia​​