Stress Detector
October 16, 2009 4:32 PM   Subscribe

Is there a device that can automatically observe your stress levels in real-time?

A research scientist mentioned she knew of another research scientist who had a device like this. As she said, "It reminds [me] of a researcher who has a sensor on her computer, which can tell if you're stressed as you're typing away at work." When I followed up with more questions, she couldn't recall details.

I also vaguely remember this being possible. Maybe through a webcam that can tell your facial expressions. Anybody have any leads?

As a half-measure, I bought a heart rate monitor which is effective at telling you when your blood is boiling. While you may not need a monitor to tell you this, I believe in the saying, "if you can measure it, you can control it."
posted by philosophistry to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sure. Blood pressure & pulse monitors. How else would you technically qualify "stress levels"?
posted by xmutex at 4:37 PM on October 16, 2009

Response by poster: That's interesting, I hadn't considered blood pressure monitors.
posted by philosophistry at 4:46 PM on October 16, 2009

There are several other measure too. GSR (galvanic skin response) for example. EEG can tell things too (alpha or theta waves more relaxed than beta). Various body temperatures (e.g. the color of a mood ring.)
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:57 PM on October 16, 2009

The Department of Homeland Security is working on a program called Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST), which is supposed to work on this basic principle by combining a lot of these indicators (eye blinks, heart rate, breathing rate, skin temperature). Not something you can buy yourself anytime soon, though.
posted by Partial Law at 5:01 PM on October 16, 2009

I just recently heard of a device for day traders that can measure stress levels. It may have even been here on MeFi that I read about it first.
posted by jclovebrew at 5:28 PM on October 16, 2009

There's a product called "biodots," which is like a self-stick mood ring that detects body temperature, and theoretically, stress. As with mood rings, purple is good, orange is bad.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:29 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Right on, thanks for the pointers. In looking up the EmoBracelet, found this helpful page, that near the bottom, references the SensDevice, emWave, Cocoro Meter.
posted by philosophistry at 5:51 PM on October 16, 2009

I vaguely remember reading of software that was supposed to be able to detect how stressed or upset you were by your typing pattern. Something along these lines.

If you're looking for a "device", isn't this essentially what "lie detectors" do? Galvanic skin response, heart rate, breathing, etc.
posted by hattifattener at 4:13 AM on October 17, 2009

The emWave is a small device that will "help" you meditate for a couple of minutes if you need it. It's not great as a device that tells if you have raised stress levels.
At one point I was thinking about a device that would be good for something like this, and it would incorporate pretty much everything people listed, maybe with the addition of one or two different things. The simplest solution would be if you purchased a heart rate monitor/watch. That would immediately tell you if something got your heart rate up. They usually come with alarms if you go over a bpm so it would actually alert you in real time.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:22 PM on October 19, 2009

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