Information technology related to health and well-being is strongly rising in Finland. Many enterprises are developing smart wristbands and data applications whose purpose is to improve the quality of life of both the young and the elderly.
One such enterprise is Moodmetric which focuses in its products on the measurement of a person’s stress and recovery from it.
Moodmetric’s smart ring monitors its user’s state of alertness and stress level and presents recommendations for removing stress on the basis of the measurement data.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an environment in which the data of devices and objects is transmitted for processing via the Web.
According to the assessment of Gartner research company, there will be as many as 25 billion devices connected to the Web in the world in 2020. The huge number of devices will change the ways of doing business. Many new opportunities have sprung up particularly in the health and care sector.
By means of Moodmetric’s smart ring, one can observe which factors affect stress or calming down. The ring measures changes of the skin’s electrical conductivity on a 0–100 scale and sends information on changes to the user’s mobile phone. A number appears on the display.
“When two people watch a horror movie, one can have a reading of 88 and the other 60. That is, the other is tenser. High readings mean a very enthusiastic or excited state, low ones a calm mind,” explains Moodmetric’s CEO Niina Venho.
Moodmetric’s application measuring the skin of the finger is unique. The Moodmetric index is a complex algorit–hm the measurement result of which is not affected by movements of the hand or the sweating of the palm. The ring works with Bluetooth technology and transmits data to a mobile phone which gives real-time readings and draws a profile, if needed.
The ring helps recovery from stress, because one obtains easily constant information of one’s stress level. For example, the effect of nature on the calming down of one’s mood has been studied with Moodmetric’s rings at Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences.
“When the rings were passed into foreign visitors’ fingers at the Nuuksio National Park, they were amazed to see their state of mind calm down immediately in the sylvan nature. Walking in the forest has an astonishingly clear effect. Less than a minute in the forest suffices to lower the readings immediately,” says Venho.
The measurement method used by Moodmetric has been known for over a hundred years. Human stress reactions have been measured and polygraph tests made by means of skin electroconductivity.
Moodmetric measures particularly the reactions of the sympathetic nervous system. The involuntary nervous system, that is, the state of alertness, activates sweat glands in the palm and the fingers.
“When meditating, you can reach the reading two. My own record is six. In deep sleep, you can reach one,” Venho says.
Venho shows the profile her mobile phone has given of herself for 24 hours. At night the phone displays green or calm. The dark areas, in turn, indicate active discussion in the morning. In the forenoon, there’s already red. It indicates that Venho was in a hurry to catch a train. After the red peak comes green again: the train set off, Venho was on it and calmed down.
“I’ve learnt that leaving in a hurry, your kids’ screaming and working when sick raise the reading immediately to 70–80.”
Many may think you can work at home with a flu, lying on the couch. Venho disagrees strongly.
“When you’re ill, you must let the immune system heal and the mind rest. If you increase your stress, that is, the activity of the sympathetic nervous system when you’re ill, the parasympathetic nervous system, which is more active during rest, is not able to restore the organism.”
The Moodmetric index gives the user new information on his/her own stress control and the recovery of the organism. The level of recovery is indicated by the readings obtained when asleep or when returning from holidays.
“Self-understanding helps to recognise whether you’re stressed or just excited. In working life, I’ve begun to value emotional intelligence more. I’m paying more attention to others than before. And if someone irritates me, I can always go out or into the forest.”
Particularly a walk in the forest brings a really peaceful period to an ordinary day.
“It’s good to know when you cross the limit. If you’re near an average of 60 for a couple of days, you’re really under heavy stress.”
Moodmetric is developing the control functions of the ring. The ring can provide appeasing music, the murmur of sea waves, or suggest a walk in the forest or mindfulness exercises through a mobile phone.
If the ring starts to flash red, the state of stress has lasted too long, and the reading is above 75.
A green light indicates that the mood is calm and relaxed. Then the reading is below 15.
Venho believes that users are interested in finding a balance between work and leisure.
“Finnish know-how in measurement technology is excellent,” enthuses Venho.
“The combination of technological development work and health research has produced lots of good applications. These include heart rate monitors, heart rate variability monitors and the associated information technology, mobile applications, guiding exercises, learning through games and the use of games in health applications.”
Ari Turunen (2017)
Oura is a ring computer that measures the quality of sleep, activity and recovery. https://ouraring.com/
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Suunto is one of the world’s leading designers of sports watches, dive computers and sports instruments.
Moodmetric develops products for measuring stress and recovery from it. www.moodmetric.com
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