Smart wearable technology

Smart wearable technology that changes color, heats up, squeezes or vibrates as your emotions increase has the ability to help individuals with affective disorders regulate their feelings more effectively.

Researchers at the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University have been working on wrist-worn prototypes with intelligent equipment that can help individuals diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and bi-polar diseases monitor their feelings.

Smart wearable technology Wrist bands that alter color based on the level of emotional excitement enable users to readily see or feel what’s going on without reference to mobile or desktop appliances.

“Knowing our feelings and how we can regulate them are complicated abilities that many individuals find hard to master,” said Muhammad Umair, co-author of DIS 19 in San Diego.

“We wanted to produce low-cost, easy prototypes to promote comprehension and engaging with real-time arousal modifications. The concept is to develop self-help systems that individuals can use in their daily lives and see what they are going through. Wrist-used personal affective and smart wearable technology can serve as a bridge between mind and body and can really help individuals connect with their feelings.”

But we have concentrated on Smart wearable technology that not only provide visual signals but can also be felt through vibration, a tightening feeling or thermal sensation without having to access other programs –so we think that the prototype systems provide real-time rather than historical information.”

Working with color-changing thermochromic materials

The researchers worked with color-changing thermochromic materials when heated up as well as devices that vibrate or squeeze the wrist. Tests of the devices saw participants wearing prototypes over the course of eight to 16 hours, reporting between four and eight occasions each when activated-during events like playing games, working, talking, watching movies, laughing, relaxing and getting scared.

Skin response sensor

A skin response sensor captured changes in arousal— through galvanic skin response, measuring the skin’s electrical conductivity — and represented it through the different prototype designs. Most effective were those intelligent materials that were both instantaneous and constant and that had a physical rather than visual output.

Muhammad added: “Participants began to pay attention to their emotional responses at the moment, realizing that their moods had changed rapidly and understanding what caused the device to activate. It was not always an emotional response, but sometimes other activities-such as taking part in the exercise-could cause a reaction.

“We believe that a better understanding of the materials we used and their qualities could open up new design opportunities to represent higher emotions and enable a better sense of meaning and emotional understanding for people.”