Stress monitoring with wearable sensors

Wednesday, April 06, 2011
ENS 637

Stress is a catch-all term that describes bodily reactions to a range of perceived threats, both physical and psychological. Once essential for survival, the pace of modern life and its myriad demands has turned stress itself into a major threat. If chronic, stress can have serious health consequences, and is a leading risk factor for heart diseases, diabetes, asthma and depression. Despite its impact on health, however, it is unfeasible for physicians to continuously monitor our stress levels, not is it practical (or objectively possible) for us to keep logs of our internal states throughout the day. Thus, a device that could monitor stress over extended periods would provide individuals and their caretakers with valuable information with which to identify stressors, target behavioral change, and monitor progress towards healthier lifestyles. In this talk I will describe ongoing work in my group towards the development of a wearable sensor platform that can monitor stress-related variables without interfering with the user's daily activities. I will review the various physiological correlates of stress, and how these can be measured non-invasively with wearable sensors. I will also describe signal processing methods that may be used to reduce the effect of measurable interferences, such as physical activity and breathing patterns. Finally, I will describe an ongoing extension of this work in the context of creative cognition in ambulatory settings (i.e., creativity in the wild ), and discuss the broader problem of sensemaking and how it may be tacked through mixed-initiative learning.


Texas A&M University