Summer reading

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Things seem to be so much brighter without the everyday  lurch in the stomach when the alarm clock goes off. Morning coffee without hurry, sun and laziness ahead for the day.. Yet this perfect battery charging is only allowed in limited doses for the most of us.

The work, studies, school – they will begin. La rentrée – the return, has an effect on each one of us. But how big and what kind?

The children get to buy new things for school and meet again with the friends. Most of them really enjoy the start of their duties. The adults mostly seem to stress about it all: the autumn hits with dozens of things and tasks, the work being only part of the palette.

Would you like to measure the effect? To know exactly how much does your stress and anxiety increase when starting the engines again? The summer reading (not meaning the pick of holiday novels) has been low, your mind has been calm.

The emotional level reading is about get higher during the autumn. For many people the change is not significant, but the numbers might increase alarmingly.

The Moodmetric smart ring measures your stress levels from the changes in the skin conductance. Find out more from our blog, and inquire about pre-ordering at [email protected].

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Measuring Workplace Well-being

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Is measuring workplace well-being a plot by the employer? Can the employee benefit of it? What is worth tracking and what do the results tell? If I take 10000 steps per day, sleep 8 hours per night and eat healthy meals at regular intervals, will I sell more cars than my colleague car salesman?

At the end of the day the person with better sales skills might still get bigger bonuses. On the other hand, I might feel better and spend less days off sick. I might even feel energetic despite hectic workdays and take setbacks like loosing a deal lighter.

Should workplace measuring only take place in the workplace?

Activity trackers and other wearables are already part of our lives. They were initially intended for personal use with goals set by the wearer. A sleep monitor can hardly be a tracker used in workplace and collecting thousands of steps in the office is only possible with the running mat under the desk.

These devices can be used to monitor general well-being and they can potentially give valuable information. They can also contribute to better work performance if the person is a motivated wearer. Someone else (the boss) reading the results might still not have the full picture. Only the measured person can put the results into context and know if today is a good day to make great results.

Pulse, heart rate variability, electrodermal activity (EDA) /skin conductance and EEG measurements can be done at the office, while sitting down. Heart rate signal however needs processing before it tells about stress levels. EDA and EEG give instant emotional load results which are not tied to physical reactions. EDA is best measured from palmar skin, EEG requires a headband with at minimum three contact points to forehead.

The workplace well-being measurement might be best done in the workplace and only if the employee thinks it is a good idea. Tracking outside the office could be part of a wellness program with limited length, on a voluntary basis.

Having the employer know when I go to sleep or how many times I was waked up by my kids – maybe not. But being able to show which meetings are the most stressful or how calming it is to take a 5 min walking break outside, why not!

 

 

Virtual reality gaming experience measured by Moodmetric

Today I had a chance to participate a brand new gaming experience pilot. Without revealing too much of the plot, our purpose to save the community living in an underground space. Everything involved latest technology, smartphones, video content and the most exciting of all, the drama ended with an Oculus Rift experience!

The game was played in pairs. My companion was a young man with serious gaming background. For contrast, the last game I myself have played was Tetris in the 80´s. I equipped us both with the Moodmetric rings and the camera followed closely both us and our emotional metrics during the game.

We set off to the spooky basements and were told to lie down on narrow beds in a tiny cellar. A comforting voice told us to relax, breath and forget everything in our past. At this point I really did a breathing exercise and got my Moodmetric number very low. Soon we were told to start our mission which got more and more exciting towards the end.

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The game lasted 45 minutes and finished with frightening content created by Oculus Rift glasses. Below you see my emotional intensity number climbing upto 99 towards the end!

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Well, frightening just for me.. The young man beside me had his emotional level dropping towards the end, he was certainly more comfortable with the experience. Here a capture of his data downloaded just after the game showing calmer mind at the end of the game.

I was quite relieved to get out but he would have liked to have more action, time pressure and zombies if possible. This was great, I can recommend this to anyone, but will skip anything with virtual horror in the future. The Moodmetric data tells what is good amount of excitement for each of us.

The Smart Jewerly Designer

Vesa NilssonSilversmith and designer Vesa Nilsson shares his views about Moodmetric and the future of jewels.

www.ozjewel.com

What were your first thoughts when you heard of Moodmetric?

I thought it’s similar to the Mood Ring from the 70s! After seeing the first demo I realized that it has much more dimensions than that. The technology inside the ring, and the user interface was really convincing and got me really interested about the project.

Have you been interested in combining technology to jewerly before?

Tecnology in our daily lives has increased and it has brought challenges not only related to usability but also how wearable the tech actually is and what is the message it delivers. How do the equipment and gadgets modify our wardrobe and style? Do we want to look like cyborgs or hide the tech? The tech is coming to dressing, jewelry and fashion.

The tech is coming to dressing, jewelry and fashion

People have used jewerly for about 7000 years and reasons to wear them have changed over centuries. The common factor has always been a personal relationship to the jewel and especially memories associated with it. Today, if we want, the tech enables saving the memories and data very concretely. The jewel itself can measure our bodily functions and quality of sleep, it can store pictures and moments that can be shared with others.

For me as a designer it is extremely intriguing to have a possibility to make jewels that can protect us, improve our wellbeing and health, and add quality to our lives.

What were the main things to consider when you started working with the design?

My aim was to create a jewel without highlighting the technical function

The starting point for the Moodmetric Ring design was the technology inside: electronics assembly and conductive rings, and equally usability and manufacturability. My aim was to create a jewel without highlighting the technical function. The purpose was to make a ring that the wearer wants to use in her everyday life.

What was the most difficult constraint dictated by the tech part of the ring? How did you solve it?

It was very challenging to have the ring fitting to everyone: everyone´s fingers are of different size and shape, and the measurement is very exact requiring the contact to be constant. One-size-fits-all was out of the question, as well as very wide selection of sizes. But we came out well, with a good fitting and measurability for everyone.

How do you see the future of smart jewerly? How you think the technology will affect the jewerly market? Are there some other trends in jewelry market that are upcoming?

I strongly believe that jewelry will have more functions in the future, they will not remain just decorative items. They can be equipment that link to personal wellbeing, to relationships with others or to the health and medical systems.

In ancient times the jewelry often had mystic healing or protective powers related to them by folklore that are now here for real.

You are doing a thesis work at the moment, and Moodmetric is a part of it. Can you tell shortly what is it about?

The Moodmetric project lit up my interest on the topic: design, handicraft, technology and the possibilities coming from combining them in future jewerly. I have over 20 years of experience of silver/goldsmith work as well as a designer and a craftsman.

Jewels and other personal objects should reflect the thoughts of the user, not the designer

Designing jewels is very close to telling silent stories and describing emotions. A jewelry designer tries to give a form to something we think or feel or create in us emotions that we want to share. And which we want to wear! Designing jewels is and art form that does not forget usability, unlike industrially designed everyday objects where “form follows emotion”.

I compare designing jewels to composing music: when the result is successful it is like a good piece of music that becomes a part of our lives and raises emotions in us.

Having so many things around us today, the desirability of a product is defined by how it resonates with us, what story it tells to us. “Idea of craft” is more and more essential in designing products with other aspects than usability. Jewels and other personal objects should reflect the thoughts of the user, not the designer. What I will bring up in my thesis work is especially the idea of combining humanity and individuality to technology products. I want to add some “soul” to technology!

Startup developing a hardware product

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Productizing means bringing a new product, service or feature from an idea to a commercial product. Even something seemingly simple, say a shovel, needs countless steps from the first sketch to a shop.

The Moodmetric Ring is an embedded system, i.e. an equipment guided by an in-built computer, in this case a processor. It has required the development of the measurement system, the ´computer´ and the software guiding the measurement. All this is a significant amount of work in addition to building up the hardware of chosen components.

When a product, new version or feature is developed inside an existing organization, the resources are in place: you have the hardware development department, software/embedded software development department, prototype production line and a test laboratory filled with equipment specific for the needs of the particular industry.

In a startup there is normally nothing at all, just an idea. How is a complex development work possible?

The most important thing is the team: everyone should be top-tier and know absolutely the latest of relevant technology. There are no bosses or internal audits, all issues need to be discovered and managed within the team. For a product like the Moodmetric ring the knowledge of signal processing, biosensor technology, algorithm development and software development have been in great hands, which has enabled a leap that is hard to believe even when seeing it happening next to me.

There need to be third parties involved, small electronics and manufacturing shops for prototyping and development. A good network of local SME tech industry is always needed when starting of development of any device. Due to our backgrounds in engineering and manufacturing, this has been well covered.

The most important thing nro 2 is the customer. Which in the beginning is not yet there. The search for the customer needs to being at the same time as the idea of a product first crosses the inventor´s mind. Where, who? A startup likes often to keep the invention secret as long as possible, which certainly is wise. But without a customer feedback, the product will not hit it.

We found the initial customers very early. Then we found more customers, totally different demographic and market. And more.. This is maybe the most confusing time period: you develop the product, you make prototypes, you ask the customer opinions and all the time you are insecure are you heading to the right market. We just had to continue and take decisions on the way until we felt this is getting right.
A very important concept is the minimum viable product Eric Ries: The Lean Startup. This is the first concept to test with a real user, and does not have to look like the final product at all. Ours was like this:

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For an architect an MVP can be a cardboard box and for a computer game developer a sketch. Just to test the initial idea and start collecting feedback from early on.

We have all worked in big organizations and it is very refreshing to develop a product in a startup mode. Again, no bosses, no internal audits, no bureaucracy (except for what you decide to implement), nothing formal, only the common objective and total freedom around it. When things are getting ready and there are more people and parties around, the freedom gradually gets less. Suddenly a startup realizes being a big organization and someone asks you to report your workhours in the ‘system’.

Moodmetric has decided to stay lean and follow the teachings of Vincit. Quoting their CEO Mikko Kuitunen: “When the headcount goes over 30, the people still remain intelligent enough to decide whether they need to buy a pencil or not.”

 

 

Where to measure electrodermal activity?

This article explains the difference of using a wristband or a ring to measure your emotional intensity levels.

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Many things can get you emotionally activated. A close by situation with a colliding car can certainly light all the inner alarm systems, but milder things can also cause strong emotional reactions: seeing your children after a school day, a victory of you favourite basketball team or forgetting to buy paper for your printer.

With any emotional activation, your skin reacts and becomes a better conductor of electricity. This can be resulting from emotional or other psychological causes. The phenomenon is known as the skin conductance response or electrodermal activity (EDA). You may also run into an older term called galvanic skin response.

Based on the scientific research there are only a few places in your body where the EDA can be measured accurately and easily: the palms and the soles of your feet. These are the places where human body has the highest density of eccrine sweat glands that response to the emotional stimuli. You can measure the EDA elsewhere as well but the reliability is not as high or as easily achieved.

We want to bring to the market a very reliable and accurate measurement of emotional activation and intensity that is available for everybody. The choice for having a beautiful jewelry ring as the measurement form was an easy one.

It provides the best optimal measurement data that can be detected from the palm side of wearer’s hand. A ring is also a natural thing to wear and can be used daily as any other jewelry. It is easy to forget that this small, beautiful and non-intrusive jewelry detects your emotional levels and helps you in your life with its data.

Moodmetric features: Scope and Wearing the ring

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Scope tells about the instantaneous reactions of the wearer. When you feel something, your autonomous nervous system reacts and small changes can be measured from your skin.

The Moodmetric Ring detects the changes that can be followed online with the smartphone app. All the reactions cause an upward jump on the Scope, the bigger the emotion, the higher the curve goes. The physical response delay is 1.5 seconds, so the jump is visible 1.5 s after seeing a ghost… Continue reading “Moodmetric features: Scope and Wearing the ring”