Captivates: A Smart Eyeglass Platform for Across-Context Physiological Measurement

Patrick Chwalek, David Ramsay, and Joseph A. Paradiso. 2021. Captivates: A Smart Eyeglass Platform for Across-Context Physiological Measurement. Proc. ACM Interact. Mob. Wearable Ubiquitous Technol. 5, 3, Article 93 (Sept 2021), 32 pages. DOI:


We present Captivates, an open-source smartglasses system designed for long-term, in-the-wild psychophysiological monitoring at scale. Captivates integrate many underutilized physiological sensors in a streamlined package, including temple and nose temperature measurement, blink detection, head motion tracking, activity classification, 3D localization, and head pose estimation. Captivates were designed with an emphasis on: (1) manufacturing and scalability, so we can easily support large scale user studies for ourselves and offer the platform as a generalized tool for ambulatory psychophysiology research; (2) robustness and battery life, so long-term studies result in trustworthy data individual's entire day in natural environments without supervision or recharge; and (3) aesthetics and comfort, so people can wear them in their normal daily contexts without self-consciousness or changes in behavior.

Captivates are intended to enable large scale data collection without altering user behavior. We validate that our sensors capture useful data robustly for a small set of beta testers. We also show that our additional effort on aesthetics was imperative to meet our goals; namely, earlier versions of our prototype make people uncomfortable to interact naturally in public, and our additional design and miniaturization effort has made a significant impact in preserving natural behavior.

There is tremendous promise in translating psychophysiological laboratory techniques into real-world insight. Captivates serve as an open-source bridge to this end. Paired with an accurate underlying model, Captivates will be able to quantify the long-term psychological impact of our design decisions and provide real-time feedback for technologists interested in actuating a cognitively adaptive, user-aligned future.

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