Sensor detects emotions through the skin

October 27, 2010

The Q Sensor measures skin conductance, temperature, and motion to record a wearer’s reactions to events. (credit: Affectiva)

A new device developed by Affectiva detects and records physiological signs of stress and excitement by measuring slight electrical changes in the skin.

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.

She adds that having clues to a person’s stress levels, which might not otherwise be detectable, could give caregivers and researchers more insight — and possibly a way to anticipate — the harmful behaviors of autism, such as head banging. Caregivers can try to identify and block sources of stress and learn what activities restore calm.