“I am so stressed”. You hear this often and you probably say that often. Many times we not stop to reflect, why and for what reasons we are so stressed.
When asked to specify, the list is long: the work, the boss, the colleagues, the partner, kids etc. How stressful each of them are is more difficult to point out. After some years of a very hectic life everything becomes a big clump of worry and pressing thoughts.
With the Moodmetric measurement it is easy to pinpoint what factors in life are the most stressful. The stress level is also given on a scale from 0 to 100. Each day and night is presented with an easily readable chart that shows with red and purple color on a clock face when the stress is the highest.
For myself, there is no doubt of the biggest stress factor in my life: my kids, that I love dearly. Leaving in the morning with the usual mess of lost things, being late etc. is easily the worst part of the day. The next and longer one is putting the kids to sleep. I am lucky not to get overly stressed of the work nor most people near me. This is both my personal feeling and what the Moodmetric data tells me.
One big stress factor in life is usually manageable, especially if one sleeps well. Sleep deprivation makes all the negative things look worse and if one feels burdened, that should be the first thing to correct.
For some of our users the Moodmetric measurement shows clearly that the work is the biggest stressor in life. Running the whole workday on a very high alertness level means cumulating stress weeks and months. Combined with small children and for example an elderly parent to look after, the life can get very complicated. Big changes in life cannot be done over night and of course some things we want to keep regardless of how many grey hairs we get.
The Moodmetric ring and combined app are the simplest tool to manage stress using real time physiological data. The wearer can begin to look at the life as whole and choose one stressor at the time to work with. The measurement shows stress and recovery levels also at sleep and while exercising.
Click here for more information on what the Moodmetric ring measures and what the data tells you.
We had the pleasure of having Janika Haataja from the Institute of Desing and Fine Arts of the Lahti University of Applied Sciences as a trainee in spring 2017.
Janika is a talented young woman with several interesting works already in her portfolio. We had an initial discussion late 2016 about package design for the Moodmetric ring. We soon found out that our ideas for the visual appearance of the product and related material match well and Janika began with the background study soon after.
Janika Haataja is a graduate from Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts, packaging design and branding.
“My graduation project was in a collaboration with a Finnish startup company Moodmetric. The design process focused on enhancing brand image through package design. I designed an e-commerce packaging for a smart ring that measures stress levels. The theoretical part of my thesis is based on the research I did on branding and the role of packaging in a brand image. I also studied stress, stress management and smart technology accessories as well as the role of a package in the out-of-box-experience.”
Janika Haataja´s beautiful graduation project can be viewed here.
– My work environment is loud and distracting, I can not concentrate.
– How bad is it on a scale from 1 to 10?
– Let´s get back to this when it is 10.
Sounds familiar? It is difficult to measure or quantify how the work environment affects motivation, creativity and wellbeing at work. How poor should things get before anyone takes action? On an individual level, getting ill might bring short term help. But doctors can do little beyond prescribing medication, sick leave or therapy.
The superior and company management are better set to take concrete steps to improve the work environment. There are atmosphere and wellbeing surveys, and strategy, vision and brainstorming sessions on how to remove obstacles from productive work. List of potential measures is boundless, from green walls to complete restructuring of the physical workplace and possibly also the organization and work itself.
Can you measure how you are doing at work?
Surveys are the most common way to measure emotional and cognitive load. Interviews, questionnaires and pushing smiley buttons are informative, but focus on a specific moment. Accuracy gets better when repeating surveys often, but subjective comment is always limited. It is affected by many things beside the question asked. A person might give a positive answer just because of being on a good mood or wanting to please the reader. A comment might turn negative, not because of the new tech at the meeting room, but because of being envious about the new car of a colleague.
Physiological measurement devices tell about stress and mental load, but different devices are not all fitting well to measure the knowledge worker´s life. Studying the brain activity would require a laboratory setting and thus be very far from the office. Heart rate measurement in various ways best tell about physical load, and with good algorithms also about recovery. The activity trackers do not describe mental load.
The Moodmetric smart ring is well suited to measure emotional and cognitive load. It measures electrodermal activity that is a phenomenon known in psychological research for over hundred years. The measurement results are available real time on a smartphone screen making it possible to follow own reactions in different places and situations.
A day of a knowledge worker consists of meetings, writing, jamming technology, idea creation, solving problems alone and in a group and challenges requiring fast actions. The Moodmetric measurement gives a stress level reading of 0–100 that is comparable between wearers. The data points out what creates the biggest mental workload. High numbers indicate stress or excitement, low numbers tell about winding down.
The measurement data is stored and can be easily shown to an occupational health specialist or worklife coach. It can for example be demonstrated that the Moodmetric level for an oversensitive person working in an open office is constantly at 100. This indicates extreme cognitive load which might have severe consequences when going on for a long time. If people are physically, mentally or emotionally uncomfortable in the office, they are unlikely to be successful or satisfied with their jobs. The employer understanding the importance of workplace wellbeing could in this example react on time and provide the person with a better suited place for work.
People are happier and more productive when they work in an environment that suits them. The issue is how to understand when the person is in an optimal space. Objective measurements should be taken to use by the side of the subjective ones. People need to be given enough power to affect their own work. Office moves and all the related changes must be managed effectively. Remember that all kinds of spaces are not ideal for everyone and leave room for individual solutions after the transition phase.
Moodmetric is involved in several projects to make knowledge work better. Real time measurement data tells without questionnaires, where the mind is at peace.
The Moodmetric app has been developed to be extremely simple. There is a minimum amount of numbers and graphs to observe. The important results become clear when you first open the app.
The main item in the Moodmetric measurement is the Moodmetric level. This is an index derived from the electrodermal activity raw signal.
Indexing the raw measurement has many advantages: it is easy to understand, it is comparable among different users and it is immediately clear how it reflects the wearer´s reaction.
The MM level / the Moodmetric index ranges from 0–100. High numbers indicate stress, excitement or other hightened state or alertness. Low numbers indicate a calm mind. The measurement or the index do not tell if the state is positive or negative. From the physiology point of view, a high number means that the user´s sympathetic nervous system is active. The system is stressed even if the cause would be positive, e.g. if you are very enthusiastic about something. The learning is that One also needs to recover from excitement!
The MM level describes current moment and a few minutes back, and updates continuously. You can follow the changes real-time – what happens when you think of something stressful? A phone call you need to take, something you have forgotten? What happens when you just stare out of the window, and try not to think of anything?
The Moodmetric live curve / The Scope
The Scope is the raw signal of the EDA measurement. Each jump upwards is a reaction of the sympathetic nervous system. The physiological delay is about 1.5 seconds, which means that after a reaction, e.g. getting startled, a jump upwards comes with a small delay.
The Scope is especially important for users that follow closely single reactions. One example would be a UX (user experience) developer, how wants to see how test user reacts with the new updates to e.g. a mobile app.
Real-time data and stored data
The above describes the live functions, where the wearer can follow the stress and recovery levels continuously.
There is no need to keep the smartphone/pad open or near the ring, when real-time view is not needed. The ring stores measurement results for up to 270 hours, but we recommend to download data out a few times a day, to see that the ring contact to the finger is good and results are complete.
The downloading happens simply by pressing the Calendar icon.
All stored information appear as a diagram presentation on a 12 hour clock face view.
The diagram uses the MM level / the Moodmetric index to draw the presentation.
The higher the stress level, the closer to the edge of the circle the figure reaches. The color also indicates the intensity ranging from calm yellow to green, purple and finally red.
Above 75 the color is purple or red and a calm mind, numbers below 30 are indicated as beige.
You can follow fluctuating stress levels throughout the day on the clock face that begins from 6am. By swiping back and forth, you can see the following night, next day and so on. Night is indicated with a moon sign in the middle.
Daily average and step counting
Daily MM is the average Moodmetric number for a particular day. It gives you the possibility to follow the stress and recovery trends, if you use the ring regularly. This number takes into account both the day and night measurement.
Total time tells how long you have used the ring on a given day.
The Moodmetric ring works as a step counter. Steps taken on a particular day is indicated in thousand steps (k).
What do the numbers tell?
Any Moodmetric level, or color code describing it, does not mean good or bad. Important is the total daily load and the amount of recovery. The daily diagram gives a quick answer at one glance: if it is mainly red or purple, the stress levels seem to be high for long periods in a row. There should be some green and beige every day to indicate recovery.
Stress can be high also on free time. Many parents of small children feel that their load is higher at home than at work. If a person feels high stress the whole waken up time, it would be good to think where to reserve time for recovery.
You will need to look at the Moodmetric figures against your own life
Same kind of average stress levels might mean different things for different people. You will need to reflect your life and think of these questions:
How much work load do I have? Is the work load too big to manage?
Is my free time or time at home stressful? Why?
How do I sleep? Do I feel refreshed in the morning?
Are there big disturbances in my life? Are we moving house? Is some of my closed ones ill? Do my children wake my me up at nights?
If there are big things that are constantly in your mind, your stress levels are probably higher than normal. You can do many things to recover, but you need to keep in mind not to require too much of yourself. If for any reason you can not e.g. sleep as much as you wish, you need to learn to take some breaks during the day. Mindfulness and other meditative exercises might be a good way to train your mind to react less to stressful situations. We are happy to help you further to understand your figures and how they relate to you life. Please do contact us at [email protected] !
If you have not yet tried the Moodmetric measurement, check our web shop to know more.
We truly wish you were able to enjoy stress free holidays. Looking at the selection of photos shared by friends, many did. If you post a photo clearly lying in a hammock at some exotic destination, it is the pure peace that the viewers expect you are experiencing.
But, the whole family with a flu for a week should entitle you for an additional recovery holiday before getting back to the office. As if it could happen!
Getting rid of everything and flying somewhere far is not always an option. The daily stress seems to be present both at work and at home and what good can the new year bring? Giving some thought on the year passed might just make you sigh – it is the same thing, same routines over and over again, what is there to expect, what moments to cherish later on?
The simple answer is that you most often find the best things very near you. The thing being a moment when things are just perfect, the greatest cup of coffee, or a very pretty pebble you found at the park.
It is important to keep in mind that your nervous system is at rest when you feel at peace. This is when your body recovers and is better able to face the inevitable challenges the coming days will bring. The days will bring you so many good things as well. Among the good things will be the moments that have a stamp on them ‘Take a break now, stick to the present’. Take a notice of them. If you add a good night´s sleep to each of your 24 hours, you are well equipped for the 2017!
The Moodmetric ring and app are the simplest solution to measure stress and excitement. Take the benefit of the Moodmetric continuous measurement and real-time feedback to support your research.
The Moodmetric ring is developed to analyze the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, ie. the fight-or-flight reaction. This can be detected through the skin conductance response measurement. It is best done from the palmar skin or fingers, which makes the ring form perfect to obtain accurate data.
Where can the electrodermal activity measurement be applied
This phenomen of electrodermal activity / galvanic skin response has been an input for research for over hundred years. It is used in large extent for instance in
– Psychological research
– Clinical research & psychotherapy
– Media & advertising testing
– Consumer neuroscience & marketing
– Usability testing & UX design
How the Moodmetric ring is used
The Moodmetric ring is a non-intrusive way to measure the electrodermal activity, which enables long term measurement outside a laboratory setting. The ring is worn as a normal ring. It connects to a smartphone app via bluetooth smart and real-time measurement works within 5m radius.
The app shows the electrodermal responses measured by the ring and the output of the signal analysis which is the Moodmetric index (0…100). In addition, the Moodmetric number among other data, so the ring can be worn without phone connection. The data can be synced any time.
Direct data streaming from the ring to Windows PC is possible with a BLE dongle. This enables also access to EDA raw data.
In addition to EDA sensors, there is a three axis accelerometer inside the Moodmetric ring. This enables for example measuring the step count, that is included in the app.
The measuring and output
Due to the advanced signal analysis methods to derive the Moodmetric index, the measurement works for everyone. It adapts to the typical level of the person using the ring. The ring learns the levels of the user, becomes personal, and always gives a number between 0 and 100, with a typical activation level of 50. If the user changes you can reset and the learning starts from the beginning.
The algorithm also includes an advanced artefact rejection. The electrodes touch the skin and even if your hand moves the algorithm rejects the disturbances in the signal caused by the electrode movement.
The Moodmetric measurement accuracy and current use in research
The Moodmetric ring feasibility for research has been verified by the Finnish Institute of Occupational health. Link to the EMBC ´15 conference paper.
It has been used in following research programs:
Pop up, 2015-2016
‘Pop up – knowledge work productivity’ research project provides new research results, practical methods and measurement tools for developing knowledge work productivity and well-being at work. Knowledge work is analyzed through a work system including physical, virtual, social and emotional environments. This project develops and utilizes participatory Pop up –method for designing and testing new work environments and practices that provides more productive ways of working. In addition, the project develops metrics and measurement tools for analyzing the impacts of new work designs. Mobile devices, sensors and applications are utilized to study fluency and experienced well-being and productivity of knowledge work.
Project’s multidisciplinary team comprises researchers from Tampere University of Technology (TUT) and Aalto University. The project is carried out in close collaboration with industry partners: Tampere Region Economic Development Agency Tredea, Arkkitehtitoimisto Helamaa&Heiskanen, University Properties of Finland Ltd, Martela and Moodmetric.
TUT Novi research center: Maiju Vuolle, maiju.vuolle(at)tut.fi
TUT Human-centered technology: Kaisa Väänänen, kaisa.vaananen(at)tut.fi
TUT School of Architecture: Jenni Poutanen, jenni.poutanen(at)tut.fi
Aalto Virtual and mobile work research unit: Matti Vartiainen, matti.vartiainen(at)aalto.fi
DEEVA, 2016 -2019
DEEVA project utilizes the opportunities of digitalization to create value from data and to develop new, customer driven service products and methods which support value co-creation and that are based on deep understanding of customer experience.
The research question is as follows: what kinds of means, modes and contexts combining data, emotions and experiences digitalization enables. The project is carried out with a large and versatile network of enterprises. The participating 20 companies vary in size and industry, e.g. energy, media, bank, ICT, real estate, commercial and service sectors are represented in the project. Multisectoral group of enterprises enhance both co-learning and gaining new insights into the research topic.
The project is executed by a multidisciplinary research consortium of three universities: Tampere University of Technology, Turku University of Applied Sciences and Tampere University of Applied Sciences in co-operation with six international universities. In addition to knowledge and publications for different target groups the project will create tools and applications for measuring customer experience and analyzing emotion data in real-time. The information provided by the tools and applications can be used in everyday activities of companies to support e.g. management of multi-channeled service environment and development of new service products and co-creative ecosystems.
We are excited to announce having a new team member, Jari Jussila, who joined Moodmetric in August.
Jari is a keen researcher interested to understand better the human behaviour, using latest technology both in collecting and analysing the data. Lately the focus has been on knowledge workers’ productivity and well-being.
“We can collect enormous amounts of data automatically, practically every mouse click. What has not been straightforward at all, is the human factor. How does the person react and feel? The Moodmetric measurement opens a huge new window, where real-time stress measurement can be added to other gathered data. I am really happy to be part of this team, to build something surprising together!”, says Jari.
Jari holds a Ph.D. in technology and is specialized in data analytics. His previous work and publications entail advanced studies in Big Data, analytics in business development and social media.
Newborn baby is rarely something fun in the night time. Back then, I lost count by midnight on how many times I was woken up. I tried to write all the activity down on a piece of paper, but in the morning it was impossible to comprehend my scribble.
Meeting other very tired mothers the next day, it would be have been great to boast about the 30 something wake up cries to explain why I did not remember my name. I thought how eye opening (for my husband) it would be to have a tracker to tell all this and have a proof the next day!
In a couple of years this all became possible and there are a lot of devices to choose of. Showing records of bad sleep is possible and even something your occupational health carer might ask from you. Insomnia is as common as a flu and temporary night problems can be caused by projects at work, also free time, not only by your sweet baby.
Virtually all the activity trackers have included sleep tracking in their devices. Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin, just to name a few, all have solutions that give insights to the sleep. Depending on the device, they monitor the quality and length of sleep (deep, light and REM sleep), through person’s heart rate, breathing, movement, blood oxygen level and brain waves. A simple pedometer can tell the steps you took.
Personal insight: Carrying a crying baby from 2am until 4am quickly gathers the recommended 10 000 steps per day..
The sleep trackers reveal what happens after Sandman has paid his visit. Analysis on sleep cycles can help you to take actions if you want to improve your sleep routines. Sleep deprivation has harmful effects on our human health, and even small changes can significantly improve recovery during night time. The Moodmetric ring tells about the sympathetic nervous system activation during the night. If the system is very active, your immune system does not work at it´s full power. The ring is a simple to use reader that tells how well you have recovered from your day. As the Moodmetric ring is designed to measure stress, the night time reading gives the user valuable and important insights into the big picture. If the day was hectic but the night was spent sound asleep, it is a good indication of having stress and recovery well in balance.
This is our COO sleeping like a baby after an exciting day.