Home / Blog / A new watch can watch on you!

A new watch can watch on you!

There are quite a few "smart" watches that can measure through accelerometers and conductivity sensors your activities through the day. They can tell you about the number of steps you took, the distance you travelled, the calories used and so on.
A new breed of watches are now appearing to measure the "stress" level. At the EIT ICT Labs we have an area investigating how technology can help in making you better aware of stressful situation (a situation can be stressful per se but what really matters is how you react to a specific situation and that depends as much on the situation as on the way you feel at that particular moment). We have a high impact initiative that is looking at stress in truck drivers with the aim of decreasing the chances of accidents.
Hence, my interest was piqued by this news on Embrace, a new watch that will hit the market early next year designed to measure stress  in general and more specifically to warn of epileptic seizures with a medical-grade quality.
The watch is being developed by Empatica, a start up that managed to raise funds through crowdfunding (on IndieGoGo).
The stylish watch, see the video clip, measure movements through an accelerometer and complement these data by measuring the changes in conductivity picked up by variation in a micro current that is circulating on the wrist skin through tiny metallic wires woven in the wrist band.
Through experiments, researchers have been able to recognise patterns that relates to an impending epileptic seizures. This information is processed by a smart phone that will relay it to an emergency number. It is the first smart watch, at least this is the inventors’ claim, that has a medical grade reliability.
More generally, the data harvested during daily activity can be processed by an application on the smart phone and are turned into visual representation of the stress level during the day. By knowing it a person can "slow down" a bit and can learn to better control the stress decreasing it both by avoiding stressful situations (which is good but not always feasible) and by using relaxation techniques.
So relax. The watch is now watching you!

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.