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Technology Review: Sensor Detects Emotions through the Skin

So this isn’t directly art-related. But measuring and gauging emotions has always been considered a “touchy-feely” kind of activity. Well, now it is very touchy-feely, with specific measurements! And the armband conducts more of a stress-test rather than a mood ring, but it is still cool. From Technology Review:

A new device developed by Affectiva, based in Boston, 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, Affectivas Q Sensor is worn on a wristband and lets people keep track of stress during everyday activities. The Q Sensor stores or transmits a wearers 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 what affects an autistic person positively and negatively, says Rosalind Picard, director of the Affective Computing Research Group at MIT and cofounder of Affectiva.

If this works, it’d be a great tool not only for autistic kids, as the article suggests, but for anyone who is worried about panic attacks, stress-induced heart trouble, or anything like that

more via Technology Review: Sensor Detects Emotions through the Skin.


Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.

One thought on “Technology Review: Sensor Detects Emotions through the Skin

  1. Hi Beth — no, it’s not exactly art, yet… but our predecessor was somewhat artistic ( A lot of my prior work explores the relationship between biosensors and art. Affectiva is doing great things and perhaps some artists will use this sensor to create art at some point!

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