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!
I’ve been with Moodmetric for three months now. I asked to join the Moodmetric team after having conducted research for over a year with the Moodmetric ring in the field of knowledge work productivity and wellbeing. Abandoned my half completed doctoral thesis, declined a job offering in an organization where I had dreamed to work some day and jumped into startup adventure that has no guarantee of a happy ending.
I have worn the Moodmetric ring on a regular basis ever since I put the ring on in January 2015. Not wearing the ring makes me uneasy. I guess one could say it was love at first sight.
The Moodmetric ring is the smallest biosensor measuring the reactions of the sympathetic nervous system. It gives real time data how the wearer’s stress levels fluctuate. The sympathetic nervous system activates when we experience stress in our everyday life. Chronic stress is a severe health risk and can lead to both physical and psychological health issues. With stress affecting our behavior, thoughts and feelings and ultimately our health, Moodmetric helps to detect stress and learn to unwind when necessary.
This is exactly what I need Moodmetric for – to know how my body is adjusting to the changes in my life. I am a person who gets excited very easy and love to have a lot going on. Getting things done just purely makes me happy. At times, I find myself having too much to get done in too little time and stress gets overwhelmingly vicious. However, my body (nor yours either) does not differentiate on good or bad stress. The sympathetic nervous system may be up and running high for pure excitement, but without proper recovery also good stress may turn against me.
Moodmetric provides me an independent assessment on the sustainability of my actions. I have learned from my previous experiences that the more prolonged stress I undergo, the less enlightened estimates I make on my health. ‘I can’t give up now, because others seem to be working even harder than I am’, ‘This has to be done now, or I will lose this opportunity’, ‘I am not progressing, because I have not worked hard enough’. That is stress skewing my thoughts.
The Moodmetric helps me to slow down if my thoughts, affected by stress, try to drive me to accomplishments that are beyond my resources. Needless to say, there’s not much to accomplish with a broken body.
As I have talked about Moodmetric with a lot of people, it is not always love at first sight. To be honest, Moodmetric is a fright to some high achievers – ‘The last thing I need right now is to know how stressed I am!’. I assume these people believe that ignoring stress makes it less harmful. I am left pondering do we need to lose our health before we take action?
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.
Jewelry has always meant a lot for the mankind. Pendants, earrings and bands have had special powers from the early days of our existence.
Wearable technology has brought those features back to jewelry. They are not just decoration, they give the wearer something in addition. The Moodmetric ring protects the wearer – from excess stress! If not having mystic healing powers, it gives relevant information regarding your wellbeing.
The electronics inside Moodmetric has been miniatyrized so much, that important functions can be fitted inside a stone that is comparable to any festive ring. The original designer Vesa Nilsson has made the form that is sleek and attractive.
The functionality allows the top cover designed in a thousand ways. Moodmetric was happy to collaborate with another famous Helsinki based jewelry designer Tina Tillander, who was keen to combine precious stones with the original design.
–Digital systems are not designed to consider emotions. As a result, the tools we have for expressing our emotions online are severely lacking in quality. This in turn inhibits empathy, the mechanisms that allow people to understand each other, connect and collaborate.
The research team including Katri Saarikivi, Tommi Makkonen and Valtteri Wikström have a huge task in front of them. Part of their project is to include others with events like the Emotion Hack Day, that Moodmetric was also invited to participate.
The event took place simultaneously in Helsinki and Montreal, and gathered talented people from all work backgrounds to spend 24 hours to generate ideas around digitalizing emotions.
Moodmetric sponsored the event with the Moodmetric rings and SDKs for teams interested in using GSR in their project:
‘It is always fun to work with a new wearable technology and think of how it can be leveraged in every day life. Also, working with a company that takes pride in making the data interface easy to work with is refreshing, since it allows us to focus on the creative aspects, instead of the device interface.’ -André
The submissions are one step towards online presence – with emotions.
In November I was in and event to speak about emotions at work, and how uncontrolled behavior is no longer tolerated at workplace. The cost of abusive supervision – that is bad bosses – is about $23,5 billion annually for US enterprises. Companies are now looking for people that are emotionally balanced, people that are aware of themselves and understand how it would feel to be in the shoes of someone else.
A few weeks after that event, I heard that two of my friends have been yelled at by their superiors. Both are academic people with significant achievement in their respective organisations, and had never faced anything like that. They were among other things loudly blamed for things they could not affect, after the bosses had to face unpleasant consequences of their own decisions. Things had quickly come so far, that both of them were planning to quit their jobs.
People behaving badly are a burden. Their mood affects others and it is never anything positive. Many of the issues at workplace, especially stress and depression, are partly deriving from unacceptable behavior by a colleague or a supervisor. Bad bosses soon find their best people gone, as they are the ones having options elsewhere.
Self-awareness is the first step in growing emotional intelligence. How do I feel, how do I behave, what evokes emotions in me? Learning to calm down in a hectic situation, and seeing the people behind the matters in hand are valuable tools for a manager. Sometimes things are just very difficult at work and unexpected things happen. Loosing self-control makes the chaos worse, and suddenly no-one works for the common good. A simple “Could we discuss this?” is often the best problem solving tool.
We are made of carbon, water and emotions. Emotions play a huge role in our private, but also business lives. Emotions at work can again heavily affect our private lives, possibly bringing and extra burden to our free time.
The Moodmetric ring is designed to help you to become more self-aware. Simply by wearing the ring you can measure what makes you react, what makes you feel intensely. A great benefit is to clearly see what makes you calm you mind. If you have sometimes trouble in controlling your emotions, you can learn what is the best way to be a master of the situation.
The Moodmetric ring also measures meditation and mindfulness exercises. You will get a score of your calming break and see how it affects the rest of your working day.
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!
What a terrific experience! Thank you Slush and all the people that visited our booth.
We got a lot on interesting feedback, lots of positive media attention, and many initial steps of cooperation were taken with companies in the health&well-being market.
We had a constant queue for the demo and competition, which turned out to be even more exciting than we thought. The lowest emotional intensity score was reached by Hannu Hamari with an amazing result of 2/100. Congratulations!
The highest score was certainly reached by myself when entering on Black stage for the product launch. The stage was huge and what I could see from the spotlights was a large crowd of people interested in health and wellbeing. Thanks to our director Jonathan Clabburn for the great launch video, and Ella, Jaakko, Mikeal and Vesa who brought the film to life in front of the camera!