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Time to relax with the StressWatch


September 27, 2009

The StressWatch gives a visual representation of the wearer's stress levels through a comb...

The StressWatch gives a visual representation of the wearer's stress levels through a combination of heart rate and body temperature measurements

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Most of us need a little bit of stress in our lives to operate effectively - the saying: “if it wasn’t for the 11th hour I'd never get anything done” rings true for many of us. But those with highly demanding jobs, or who live in stressful environments, know how damaging long-term exposure to stress can be. The StressWatch concept is intended as a stress-reducing device that provides a visual alarm for those sufferers who want to reduce the impact stress has on their health. In the past, Gizmag has witnessed a few stress-relieving devices like the HeartMath emwave PSR and the 'stress sensor vest' - it seems stress just won't leave us alone, so we better learn to deal with it.

Designed by Michael Mathis and Gerda Hopfgartner, the StressWatch is worn on the wrist and monitors heart rate and body temperature in real time. Measurements are taken from the lower part of the watch’s bracelet and displayed on the watch face in recognizable patterns, colors and a bar chart across the top of the watch. Data is then translated into relaxation guidelines and displayed in real time.

For instance, if the display shows sprinted waves in warm colors and the stress bars are full you need to put your ‘de-stress’ plan into action – which might include finding your optimal breathing rate, concentrating on slowing down your heart rate, even ‘going to your happy place’.

When your stress levels alter you will literally see a change in the graphic chart – smooth waves and cool colors and the stress bars reduced.

The StressWatch can also be a good visual alert for partners of ‘stress-heads’, too. When the colors heat up, maybe it’s time to suggest to your loved one that you’ll hold the baby, or to your business colleague that you’ll work back to complete that tender submission.



I think a device like this can be useful for training purposes. If someone is serious about wanting to learn how to reduce their stress level and needs a piece of technology to help them figure it out, so be it. Unless someone is really interested in improving their abilities to reduce stress however, I think the technology will simply be ignored no matter how many alarms or flashing colors it displays. After all, our bodies tell us when they are stressed and we ignore all those warnings for the most part.

Nikki Brown
28th September, 2009 @ 06:53 am PDT

I think this device is brilliant.

And perhaps Nikki Brown is right, and when we are rushing we will ignore the warnings. She says "After all, our bodies tell us when they are stressed and we ignore all those warnings for the most part."

Well, our bodies tell us that we are in a stressful situation: when our blood pressure goes up, our stress hormones are pumping, our heart is pounding... it isn't telling us that we need to destress. The contrary: naturally those are signs to our brains that there is a stressful situation= danger. Those signs become feelings that we must rush more, work harder, fight, run, and thus we naturally become more active, aggressive, louder etc.

Perhaps in the jungle running, fighting, shouting to scare off the agressor worked, but on the job or at home, they are counterproductive. A device such as this, if the wearer wants to use it, can help one override the natural reactions to stress, and help us step back and deal with the stress in a more productive manner.

I for one will look for this on the market.

Leanne Franson
28th September, 2009 @ 08:22 am PDT

Semi-serious comment: I would like to see a version with the numbers lying free & randomly at the bottom of some trapped, say, green, liquid. With each shake the numbers rearrange, the idea being don't take the numbers too seriously.

30th September, 2009 @ 02:49 am PDT
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