NASET News Alert

Sensor Detects Emotions Through the Skin

November 03, 2010

When children with autism get stressed, they often don't show it. Instead their tension might build until they have a meltdown, which can result in aggression toward others and even self-injury. Because these children often don't understand or express their emotions, teachers and other caregivers can have a hard time anticipating and preventing meltdowns. A new device developed by Affectiva, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, detects and records physiological signs of stress and excitement by measuring slight electrical changes in the skin. While researchers, doctors, and psychologists have long used this measurement--called skin conductance--in the lab or clinical setting, Affectiva's Q Sensor is worn on a wristband and lets people keep track of stress during everyday activities. The Q Sensor stores or transmits a wearer's stress levels throughout the day, giving doctors, caregivers, and patients themselves a new tool for observing reactions. Such data could provide an objective way to see and communicate what might be causing stress for a person, says Rosalind Picard, director of the Affective Computing Research Group at MIT and cofounder of Affectiva. She demonstrated the sensor last month at the Future of Health Technology Summit 2010 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. To read more - Click here

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