The Moodmetric data analytics tool is created to support research and development projects related to EDA (electrodermal activity) measurements.
The tool enables researchers and developers to quickly process and visualize large Moodmetric data sets in uniform manner. It generates both group and individual level reports based on input data from wearable devices. The tool is released as open source for anyone to benefit of the Moodmetric measurement data in various use cases.
Download the Moodmetric data visualization tool instruction here.
In my previous blog post I promised to write in detail how I dealt with my chronic stress last year. As I told, the turning point was the summer holiday when I started experiencing difficulties in falling asleep.
Sleep is the most important part of recovery. I did know that, but one cannot really force herself to sleep and taking sleeping pills was not an option for me. Therefore, I started tackling the stress from another direction.
The very first thing I did was downloading Headspace on my phone. Headspace is an application using proven meditation and mindfulness techniques to train the mind for a healthier, happier, and more enjoyable life. I had tried Headspace before and was already convinced about its effectiveness. Having also tried other guided mindfulness applications I noticed that the voice matters to me! Andy Puddicombe has a voice that is calming by nature 🙂 Mindfulness is our basic human ability to be fully present, aware of our surroundings, and not being too reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us. According to my Moodmetric levels, mindfulness is low numbers indicating inactive sympathetic nervous system.
However, after trying mindfulness a few times at home during the weekends, I realized it was of no use. It was really difficult to find a nice and quiet place for a meditation exercise. Normally my Moodmetric numbers go down steadily during meditation exercises, but as constantly hearing kids running and screaming upstairs, I could not concentrate. By accident (I got upset for not being able to concentrate and marched out for a walk), I found out that going out for a walk lowered my stress levels more effectively than meditating at home. I continued mindfulness exercises on work days.
Then I gave up on kettlebell exercises for a few months and started going for walks instead. Before, putting my trainers on just to go for a walk, was never really an option. I had this thought that going ‘just’ for a walk was a waste of (sports) time. It started to become clear for me that exercising is a good way to prevent stress, but if you are already overloaded, strenuous exercise only adds up to high stress levels.
Working less during the evenings was an obvious move of course. However, not always being able to refrain from work, I started studying how different kind of work tasks affected my stress levels. Quite soon I noticed that writing e-mails raised my stress levels easily. On the other hand, design or creative work without time pressure kept my stress levels down. As I talked about this with our CEO she had experienced the opposite – going through e-mail was less stressful for her than any kind of creative work. This is a good reminder of how we are all individuals and should find out ourselves what are the causes of stress and sources of recovery.
Also, working remotely from home helped me to keep stress levels moderate (the kids being at daycare, of course). This is probably explained by the fact that I could solely concentrate on my work without unexpected social interruptions.
In addition, I adjusted my diet a bit. From my previous experience I had noticed that cutting down carbs and sugar kept me steadily energetic. I also started taking vitamin and mineral supplements: D3, B12, magnesium citrate and zinc to fight the stress and help the immune system.
In October, I started seeing clear results with my stress levels. The change had happened in my mind as well – the future seemed brighter again, less worrying thoughts and more feelings of accomplishment. I was able to concentrate better, which had a clear correlation with getting more work done. All this change in my thoughts even though nothing else had changed in my surroundings. Also no difficulties in falling asleep anymore.
Mindfulness was probably the most effective action on my way to a less-stress life. Even though I wasn’t doing the exercises for more than two or three times a week, I felt that it helped me the most. According to studies, it takes 8 weeks to get results. In that sense, I would recommend trying mindfulness even if one can not commit to the exercises every day.
One might wonder why the actions I took seem so systematic and straightforward. Is managing stress really that simple? Yes and no.
Knowledge work productivity and wellbeing have been my area of interest for a long time. I have acquired decent theoretical knowledge of the substance through my work as a researcher, so in that sense I was well aware how to tackle chronic stress as a knowledge worker. In general, the internet is loaded with tips and guidance towards stress free life.
However, effective stress management requires lifestyle and behavioral changes. It is easy to try something for a few times, but the hard part is adopting a lasting routine. I get my motivation to take action by looking at my stress levels on the Moodmetric app.
The idea behind Moodmetric is that everyone should find out what are their individual sources of stress and recovery. What works for me, might not work for you. The Moodmetric ring is an excellent tool to find that out.
The Moodmetric ring collects stress and recovery information in smart spaces in a pilot project starting in February 2017. The real time stress data will be combined to a Smart Office concept by Polku Innovations.
The outcome will be a brand new service where there will be a measurable link between wellbeing of the employees and the space they are working in. The data collected by the Moodmetric smart ring will be combined to a platform by Polku Innovations. This gives the companies unique opportunities to understand how the environment affects the employees and their work.
Polku Innovations develops and offers their customers measurement and data analytics services to a smart office. Their concept uses sensors to collects information such as temperature, humidity, air pressure, light intensity, noise and utilization rate of the space. Data is used to facilitate the daily work and enhance wellbeing.
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.
I have used Moodmetric ring on a regular basis for almost two years now.
When I first got to know Moodmetric, my life was not terribly hectic, I did not feel to be particularly stressed. I did not check my stress levels from the Moodmetric app continuously, as there was not much change – figures were quite low, nothing to be alarmed of.
Until last January.
It was already during Christmas break, when I started to notice the first signs. The feeling of hopelessness and a hint of bitterness had started slowly fester inside me. Two and a half years of burdening family life with extreme efficiency had resulted in complete loss of energy. Our family size had undergone significant change few years back, as the number of our kids went from one to three at once. Without a proper safety net, my husband and I had worked like machines to take care of our family. After 2,5 yrs. we were both exhausted and the only thing keeping us sane was being able to go to work to our paid jobs. Yes, it is a bit twisted, that you go to work to recover from family life.
At work my colleagues would have their daily laughs, because I started forgetting things. I would even go to a meeting and be very impressed by a work very nicely done just to hear that I had been part of it. Memory problems showed up.
By the end of January I noticed that I couldn’t pull through my regular kettlebell exercises anymore let alone improving the performance. I was just tired. I wanted to exercise, but I was too tired to get to it.
Then I got my first flu. And a second flu. And a third flu. Soon I noticed that I was the only one in our family getting sick all the time. (By the end of July I had been ill almost ten times.) My immune system had failed me.
In March I decided to take a personal risk as I threw in my lot with the Moodmetric team. I became a co-owner in the company. Becoming an entrepreneur was something I had always dreamt of, but I had little doubts about the timing. It was a great move for me, but I knew that the positive stress – excitement – could be a challenging combination with the cumulated stress from the family circus. Would I be able to unwind from all the positive stress ahead me?
In April it became obvious to me that my overall stress levels were higher than usual. Wearing the Moodmetric ring, I had data to back this up – I could witness the change in figures from the app. I was alerted, but not afraid, because I am a very good sleeper and felt that I got the recovery I need. In overall I was optimistic about the future.
The spring 2016 and early summer were hectic and exciting. We were rewriting the company vision and strategy, and talking to loads of people with to get feedback. What we heard was so supporting that at times I couldn’t restrain myself from working unreasonable hours. On the other hand, I had started to question my work performance and felt like I was not working enough. I knew I had gone into overdrive a big time, but was hoping that I could make it to my summer vacation.
When July and summer vacation started,I breathed freely again – I had made it to the safety zone and now I could unwind and recover!
Only, that feeling lasted for a short moment, because sleep disorders kicked in. I started having problems with falling asleep and my heart would race for anxiety. Bedtime became one of my least favorite time of the day, because I was afraid I couldn’t fall asleep.
Needless to say, summer vacation came in too late. I had neglected my recovery and crossed the line that I didn’t wish to. I am well aware that one shouldn’t play with sleep disorders. My Moodmetric daily diagrams were screaming red. That is when I decided to start adding more unwinding moments to my everyday life and not just wait for the next vacation. I did not want to welcome chronic stress into my life.
In short, the lifestyle and behavior changes I adopted are mindfulness exercises, less heavy exercise and replacing with long walks, adding micronutrients, prioritizing sleep, etc. I will write down how I tackled chronic stress in very much detail in my next blog, due out soon!
With any sympathetic nervous system activation, skin reacts and becomes a better conductor of electricity. This can result from emotional, cognitive or other psychological origin. The phenomenon is known as electrodermal activity (EDA) and it is widely adopted in psychological research (1). Other commonly used terms for this phenomenon are skin conductance response and galvanic skin response.
EDA is generated by the activity of the sweat glands. Moodmetric measures the palmar skin on your finger. The palmar skin is the recommended EDA measurement location, since it has the highest eccrine sweat gland density (2). You can measure EDA elsewhere as well but the reliability is not as high or as easily achieved.
The unconscious actions of the human body are regulated by the autonomic nervous system. It consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic part. The parasympathetic part controls the body’s rest-and-digest functions and the sympathetic part controls the fight-or-flight reactions. By examining electrodermal activity we can understand the sympathetic nervous system reactions.
The sweat glands are exclusively innervated by the sympathetic nervous system. This makes EDA an ideal measure for sympathetic activation (2). Electrodermal activity correlates to cognitive and emotional arousal, and high responses are caused by e.g. stress, enthusiasm, anxiety, joy, anger (1, 3).
Mobile EDA devices have been used by scientists for some time (2, 4). The Moodmetric ring is an unobtrusive option to follow EDA responses real-time and in long term.
The signal accuracy has been proven in a study of 24 people by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health by J. Torniainen et al.. The accuracy against a laboratory grade reference was found to be 83 %. They conclude:
“Clearly the ring sensor can be used to measure a valid EDA signal as indicated by the similarity of both event-related responses and the calculated features. The accuracy of the Moodmetric EDA Ring is adequate for psychological and physiological research when weighted against the advantage of conducting ecologically valid experiments outside laboratory conditions.”
The results were accepted for publication in the 2015 conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC 2015, August 25-29).
The Moodmetric measurement accuracy has also been studied at the University of Tampere, Finland in 2014. The correlation with the reference equipment Nexus-10-MK II was good. Comparison details in charts below.
With skin conductance level (SCL) we refer here to raw measured skin conductance without any filtering. The figures below show the comparison of the two devices.
Further reading in an article by Jari Torniainen and Benjamin Cowley, published in August 2016:
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.
–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.