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MWC: Stressing about stress

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At the Mobile World Congress, currently underway in Barcelona, Action Line Leader Health is showcasing the Affective Health Meter, which displays stressful and engaging moments as well as peaceful moments in an effort to keep a balanced body and mind.

Studies show that work related stress has become a serious problem affecting people of different professions and ages, and is the second most common work-related health problem in the European Union. By 2020 the top five diseases will be stress related. In the Netherlands, for example, stress costs the economy about four billion euros annually.

‚”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 Health and Wellbeing at EIT ICT Labs, which is exhibiting at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. ‚”Moreover, extensive use of social media and electronic agendas make it possible to develop methods and tools that analyse correlations between the rise and fall in stress levels with the characteristics of our daily activities.‚”

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 the 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. The tool creates stress prediction models and generates recommendations for the user.

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

EIT ICT Labs brought together technology and expertise to develop a system to measure stress. The technology to measuring and recording galvanic skin response, and heart rate with a high frequency has been developed by Philips. The Swedish university Royal Institute of Technology KTH and the Dutch Technical University Eindhoven put their expertise in data and process mining techniques on top of this technology resulting 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.

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