A new ambulatory arousal monitor uses a combination of body parameters to monitor a person’s arousal level, according to its developers at IMEC’s Holst Centre. The device’s compact form factor and long battery life allow its use in applications such as mobile gaming and clinical trials.
IMEC’s Human++ program employs a body-area network consisting of two small wireless sensor nodes that measure four body parameters. The nodes perform ultra-low power digital signal processing and wireless communication of the measured data to a PC that acts as a base station.
One sensor node is integrated into a chest belt and measures respiration and ECG activity, based on IMEC’s proprietary single-channel bio-potential ASIC. The second node, embedded in a wristband, consists of a commercial sensor for skin temperature and a dedicated circuit board measuring the galvanic skin conductance between two fingers. The physiological measurements are combined and interpreted in software running on the base station, which indicates the person’s arousal in real time.
Being able to measure and analyze a subject’s emotional state can be of great value for a variety of applications in the entertainment and medical markets. For example, online avatars can automatically adapt to a player’s state of mind without the player having to actively indicate it in a game menu. Or, in drugs screening, being able to objectively quantify parameters such as stress can complement the more subjective indication and gradation of traditional tests. The new platform serves as a research demonstrator. Partner companies and other interested parties can use and commercialize the technology.