In the last decade, several epidemiological studies have found a high prevalence of occupational burnout in both western and developing countries. Burnout is a global concern and has the potential to negatively affect the individual’s psychological and physical health, as well as an organization’s and a country’s effectiveness and economy.
The goal of this project was to create a stress management and prevention system that opens up for reflection and discussion on an individual, corporate and societal level. To achieve this the student investigated how stress could be quantified, visualized and communicated in a constructive way.
The final concept assists the individual to recognize their stress and relaxation patterns and make constructive behavioral changes. In the workplace the system indicates stress levels and aims to enable real life communication regarding stress. Exposing stress data to the public empowers society to value and demand stress management.
Inspiration and Method
The projects has a human centered approach whilst investigating what role artificial intelligence will have in the future of mental and behavioral health care. Mental disorders are often stigmatized and misunderstood which relates to our inability to quantify them, which is about to change due to technological advances.
The research consisted of questionnaires, user and psychologist interviews combined with scientific articles on Affective computing, Stress and our brain, Stress management and Stress measuring technologies.
The biggest challenge was how to present constructive “data” to the user on such a sensitive topic.
Firstly i have been inspired by the field of affective computing and MIT Professor Rosalind Picards work in using technology to decode and respond to emotion. Secondly, The team of MC10 and John A. Rogers, Professor of materials science and engineering at University of Illinois who has been working for a decade to perfect flexible devices that can be worn on the skin or implanted internally to gather bio feedback.
During my research Involving the context quickly became a requirement and resulted in a multi layered stress management system. Firstly Individual level: a biosensor measuring stress accompanied by an intelligent conversational user interface. Secondly Corporate level, A meta data collector placed in the workplace measuring the data of all sharing biosensors. Thirdly, Societal level, a website where corporations may expose their stress levels and where other stress statistics could be filtered out by profession, education, corporation or location.
Several measurements have been taken to protect the individual integrity. Users may turn on or off the sharing of their meta data at any time and their personal data may only be seen by them. Meta data collector will merge all data together to one indication and it won’t collect any data if there are under 4 people in a room.
The final result is called Ro, a Swedish noun meaning tranquility, quietude, calm, peace.
Individual User Interface prototype:
Corporate User Interface Prototype: