EIT ICT Labs present new technology to recognise stress at MWC 2013

Work related stress has become a serious problem affecting people of different professions and ages. It is the second most common work-related health problem in the European Union. Studies show that by 2020 the top five diseases will be stress-related. 

EIT ICT Labs brought together technology and expertise to develop a system to measure stress. The base is Philips technology for measuring and recording galvanic skin response and heart rate with a high frequency. KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Technical University Eindhoven put their expertise in data and process mining techniques on top which resulted in a metering system to measure stress and affective health. 

The system consists of a bio-sensor wristband measuring and collecting data through galvanic skin response. The data is transferred, via Bluetooth, to a mobile phone or tablet in real-time, logging ones bio data. In Sweden the focus was put on the development of the Affective Health Meter and in the Netherlands on development of the Stress Meter.

"Modern sensor technologies enable objective measuring of the stress level. Indicators like heart rate, variability, galvanic skin response and facial expressions are known to be highly correlated with the level of stress a person experiences”, explains Jean Gelissen, Action Line Leader for Health and Wellbeing at EIT ICT Labs. 

“Extensive use of social media and electronic agendas makes it possible to develop methods and tools that analyses correlations between rise and fall in stress levels with the characteristics of our daily activities.” 

Manage Stress and Prevent Burnout 

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the action line is presenting two research results that are in the early stages of commercialization – the Affective Health Meter and the Stress Meter. 

The Affective Health Meter measures movement and arousal and makes it possible to identify, reflect and find patterns in behaviour. With the use of biosensors, the system can mirror your bodily reactions. The movements are visualized through shapes while arousal is fluently represented in a colour scheme. It portrays situations that are stressful and engaging as well as peaceful moments and helps you in balancing body and mind. 

The Stress Meter measures stress and discovers the correlations between the stress level changes. A personal e-calendar gives information about what, when, where, with whom.  Data and process mining techniques were used in order to discover the correlations between the stress level changes and the data out of the personal calendar. It functions as a stress prediction model and generates recommendations on which e-coaching of someone’s personal stress pattern is based.

Prevention of stress starts with learning how to balance body and mind with the Affective Health Meter and knowing the pitfalls causing stress can help one to cope with stress better. In this sense one has a better chance to avoid a burn out disease. The validation of both prototypes is ongoing. The expectation is that the Stress Meter will be exploited by a Dutch occupational healthcare company and the Affective Health Meter will be marketed by a Swedish startup MirrorMirror.

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