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New Wearable Devices Offer Real-time Information about User Emotions

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Published on : Jul 01, 2019

Scientists from the School of Computing and Communications, Lancaster University are successful in developing a new wrist-worn smart material prototype. This wearable prototype can help people suffering bi-polar disorders, anxiety, and depression to be in better control of their emotions. 

These wearable prototypes are sort of a wrist band that can change color based upon the emotional arousal levels of the user. Users can easily feel or see the change on the wrist band without referring to desktop or mobile devices. 

The co-author of the research Muhammad Umair will present the prototype and related study at the DIS 19 in San Diego. 

Thermo-chromic Material Used to Monitor Changes in Emotions

Researchers wanted to create simple and low-cost prototypes to make users understand them in real time as per emotional changes. The motive is to create self-help technology that masses can use in their day to day lives and efficiently monitor their emotional changes. Researchers think that wrist-worn devices can act as the bridge the body and mind and can substantially help users connect with their emotions. 

Previously, similar attempts on creating working model involved abstract visualizations and graphs of bio-signals. Also, the majority of the interfaces were either desktop or mobile. But now the scientists have developed a prototype that is wearable and can provide visual as well as sensory signals. The wearable device can vibrate, heat up, or tighten as per the emotional arousal. The need to access the external interface or program is not necessary to achieve the mentioned expereinces. 

For developing such a prototype, developers used thermo-chromic materials, which can change color when they heat up. Scientists also used devices that can squeeze or vibrate on the wrist. Experiments on these devices showed users wearing the prototypes for eight to 16 hours. The data reports four to eight occasions associated with an active device. These occasions spanned during multiple events such as being scared, relaxing, watching movies, working, playing games, and having conversations.