Remote Measurement of Stress via Heart Rate Variability

Whether you are working in transport, operating machinery, programming in cyber security, trading securities, working in essential services or landing the InSight rover on Mars, lapses in concentration can be costly. Daniel McDuff (et al. 2014) conducted research into how our stress can be measured using a camera that captured  heart rate, breath rate and heart rate variability. It was breath rate and heart rate variability that gave accurate measures of stress.

Even though this was conducted in a laboratory situation the potential applications are vast. Anywhere a camera can be mounted, feedback can be received and actions put in place to ensure the best possible decisions are made at a given point in time.

This could be done locally or remotely. For example, a currency trader could receive instant feedback that there is an increased probability that they are likely to make errors and need to take a break for 5 minutes and undertake focused breathing to bring their system back into balance.

Remote feedback can be collected and evaluated from across a room or across a country. For example, a fleet of ambulance drivers could be simultaneously monitored to ascertain whether they have recovered sufficiently from attending a distressing call before being allocated to the next job.

This can all be done currently by using Bluetooth or a wired solution affixed to the person.  However the use of cameras will enable data to be collected and actioned upon much more efficiently, effectively and over longer periods of time.

McDuff, D, Gontarek, S & Picard, R 2014, ‘Remote measurement of cognitive stress via heart rate variability’, Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc, vol. 2014, pp. 2957-60.

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