Measuring stress to improve our lives
We all know that stress is a contributor to many health problems we have. But, managing the stress in our lives is a lot more difficult than we’d like to admit. What if there was a device you could wear that measures stress and alerts you to when you need to chill out? Meet the team at Affectiva who’s goal is to empower people to measure their stress and improve their lives.
Stress is a response of the sympathetic nervous system. So, when your body is in a state of stress, there are actual physiological changes, such as skin conductivity (also called Galvanic Skin Response), motion, and temperature, that can indicate your level of stress. The team at Affectiva has developed a wearable device called the Q Sensor that makes it easy for anyone to measure these changes.
Here’s how it works. By wearing the Q Sensor, an individual’s emotional arousal is measured skin conductance (which increase when stressed and decreases when more calm). After the individual has completed their activity, the device can be plugged into a computer where can be visualized, annotated, and shared. The mobility of the Q Sensor makes it possible to measure people as they go about their every day activities, rather than simply while in a laboratory.
Watch this video to see Affectiva’s Q Sensor in action:
In the same way that there are devices to measure physical activity (such as the FitBit) and sleep (such as the Zeo), we now have a device to record and analyze the personal metrics of stress in our lives. It will be interesting to see the self measurement of stress emerge and if individuals act on the data the sensor reveals to try and respond to moments of stress as they occur in their lives.