Rose Faghih, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, has developed a system that could monitor and even reduce stress. Faghih seeks sweat for reporting stress.
To collect and study these physiological signals of stress, Faghih’s research team developed a new closed-loop technology by placing two electrodes on smartwatch-type wearables. Once the physiological signals for stress are detected, a reminder is sent through the smartwatch, for example, to listen to relaxing music to calm down.
“This study is one of the very first steps toward the ultimate goal of monitoring brain responses using wearable devices and closing the loop to keep a person’s stress state within a pleasant range,” reports Faghih in the journal IEEE ACCESS.
The electrical conductivity of the skin carries enough information about the brain’s cognitive stress. Researchers used signal processing techniques to track the hidden stress state and designed an optimum control algorithm for regulating the stress state and closing the loop.
“The final results verify that the proposed architecture has great potential to be implemented in a wrist-worn wearable device and used in daily life,” said Faghih. “Stress is a worldwide issue that can result in catastrophic health and financial complications. A recent Gallup poll found that more than one in three adults (35%) worldwide said they experienced stress during “a lot of the day yesterday.”
According to the researchers, the proposed architecture is an initial step toward treating cognitive disorders using non-invasive brain state decoding.