It changes colour, heats up, squeezes or vibrates in response to the wearer’s arousal levels
A smart wristband that can tell what sort of mood you are in has been unveiled by British scientists.
It changes colour, heats up, squeezes or vibrates in response to the wearer’s arousal levels, and it is hoped it will connect the wearer to their feelings.
It could monitor people diagnosed with depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorders and help better control their feelings.
The high tech device was presented at a Designing Interactive Systems conference in San Diego after a dozen people wore a prototype for two days.
Co creator Muhammad Umair, a PhD student in computing at the University of Lancaster, said: “Knowing our emotions and how we can control them are complex skills that many people find difficult to master.
“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.”
The goal is for people to be more emotionally aware in real time – so they can change their behaviour or take medication.
“Participants started to pay attention to their in-the-moment emotional responses, realising their moods had changed quickly and understanding what it was that was causing the device to activate,” explained Mr Umair.
“One of the most striking findings was the devices helped participants start to identify emotional responses which they had been unable to beforehand, even after only two days.”
The groundbreaking technology prompted the volunteers to stop and reflect on their feelings whenever the wristbands activated.
Changes in activity ranged from having conversations, cooking and eating and saying goodbye to a friend to playing with pets and relaxing at home.
After the test run, one of the participants told the researchers: “It is nice to have something like this, that is aware of your emotions.”
Another revealed: “It made me more aware of my feelings and made me think what feelings I have.
“But if I did not have the device, I would not be probably as aware as I am when wearing it. It did give me a way to think of my own emotion.”
The bracelet allows users to easily see or feel what is happening without having to refer to mobile or desktop devices.
“We wanted to create low-cost, simple prototypes to support understanding and engagement with real-time changes in arousal,” said Mr Umair.
“Previous work on these technologies has focused on graphs and abstract visualisations of biosignals, on traditional mobile and desktop interfaces.
“But we have focused on devices that are wearable and provide not only visual signals but also can be felt through vibration, a tightening feeling or heat sensation without the need to access other programmes .
“As a result we believe the prototype devices provide real-time rather than historic data.”
The researchers worked with thermochromic materials that change colour when heated up, as well as devices that vibrate or squeeze the wrist.
Participants wore the prototypes over the course of between eight and 16 hours, reporting between four and eight occasions each when it activated.
This included during events such as playing games, working, having conversations, watching movies, laughing, relaxing and becoming scared.