Business Standard

Wearable smart material band provides insight into users' emotions


It is quite difficult to understand emotions but now with the help of a wrist band people can keep a tab on their feelings.
Smart wearable technology that changes colour, heats up, squeezes or vibrates as your emotions are heightened has the potential to help people with affective disorders better control their feelings, suggests a new study.
Researchers from Lancaster University have worked with smart materials on wrist-worn prototypes that can aid people diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders in monitoring their emotions.
Wrist bands change colour depending upon the level of emotional arousal allows users to easily see or feel what is happening without having to refer to mobile or desktop devices.
"Knowing our emotions and how we can control them are complex skills that many people find difficult to master," said Muhammad Umair, the study's co-author.
"We wanted to create low-cost, simple prototypes to support understanding and engagement with real-time changes in arousal. The idea is to develop self-help technologies that people can use in their everyday life and be able to see what they are going through. Wrist-worn private affective wearables can serve as a bridge between mind and body and can really help people connect to their feelings," added Umair.
The researchers worked with thermochromic materials that change colour when heated up, as well as devices that vibrate or squeeze the wrist. Tests of the devices saw participants wearing the prototypes over the course of between eight and 16 hours, reporting between four and eight occasions each when it activated - during events such as playing games, working, having conversations, watching movies, laughing, relaxing and becoming scared.
A skin response sensor picked up changes in arousal - through galvanic skin response, which measures the electrical conductivity of the skin - and represented it through the various prototype designs. Those smart materials which were both instant and constant and which had a physical rather than visual output were most effective.
"Participants started to pay attention to their in-the-moment emotional responses, realising that their moods had changed quickly and understood what it was that was causing the device to activate. It was not always an emotional response, but sometimes other activities - such as taking part in exercise - could cause a reaction," said Umair.
"One of the most striking findings was that the devices helped participants started to identify emotional responses which they had been unable to beforehand, even after only two days," Umair remarked.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Jun 28 2019 | 7:18 PM IST

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