NEC Corporation and MIT Media Lab have been carrying out joint research on sensing the internal states of people with wearable devices since April 2016. It was previously only possible to monitor internal states such as emotions and stress under laboratory conditions. Using wearable devices, however, monitoring internal states in everyday life is becoming more and more possible. Based on high precision sensing technology, NEC and the Affective Computing group from the MIT Media Lab are aiming to lead people to having healthier lifestyles.
In recent years, the problem of worsening mental health due to stress has been taken up as a major issue by countries across the world. This is a crucial task for countries to confront in order to ensure human flourishing. In particular, worsening mental health in the working environment has become an issue, and so the question of how to further support and improve the mental health of the workforce has attracted the attention of society. On the one hand a solution to excessive stress is being sought, while at the same time our existing methods of measuring and controlling stress have proved to be an area of difficulty.
At the Affective Computing group, the "Sleep, Networks, Affect, Performance, Stress, and Health using Objective Techniques (SNAPSHOT) Study" is an advanced research project conducted to better understand and improve health via sensing the activities, behaviors, and internal states of people in their everyday lives. As part of the SNAPSHOT study, researchers gathered behavioral data on several hundred university students using smartphones and wearable devices, and used AI and machine learning to analyze the relationship between everyday behaviors and stress. It has recently become clear that it is possible to estimate an individual’s stress level based on biological reactions such as trace amounts of sweat production and changes in body temperature, together with data from their phone usage and sleeping patterns.
NEC envisages using this advanced MIT research in a wide array of applications in the real world. In the case of targeting the workforce with this technology, NEC is working together with MIT to achieve the degree of precision needed to solve the new issues and implement the new usage scenarios that are constantly arising. NEC has also sent a visiting researcher to MIT in order to perform research on the following topics: 1. using past time series information to create high-fidelity models for predicting stress; 2. predicting stress levels from sensor data from everyday wearable devices. As a result of this research, three articles were presented at leading conferences or chosen for publication in flagship international journals in their respective fields, and one of those papers won a Best Paper Award. From here NEC and the Affective Computing group intend to further advance research into necessary peripheral technologies, and implement technology that will lead to people having healthier lives.
Follow this link to the Best Paper Award:
Affective Computing researchers win Best Paper Award at IEEE BHI 2019