Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Stress Sensor

PostedOctober 10, 2011

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It’s not always easy to know when a person is agitated or excited.  Sometimes you may not even know when you are.  So a new wearable device has been engineered to detect stress, bad or good.

Randy Atkins: The sensor looks like a wristwatch but records movement, temperature, and small changes in electric currents on your skin triggered by emotion. Rosalind Picard, of M-I-T’s Media Lab, is the lead inventor.

Rosalind Picard: It changes with things that are changing in your brain, and you wouldn’t think that information would show up on your wrist, but some of it does.

Randy Atkins: The device can help you, and others, understand what stresses and relaxes you. For example, people may have doubts when you say walking back-and-forth helps you calm down.

Rosalind Picard: But when they see the signals plummet when you pace they say, “Wow, that pacing looks like it’s helping you. I’m not going to tell you to stop pacing anymore.”

Randy Atkins: Currently the sensor is mainly used for various research projects, but it could be available to the general public in a year. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.