PART 4: Measuring stress with the Moodmetric ring and understanding the data

The Moodmetric real-time curve and the Moodmetric level

The Moodmetric smart ring measures stress  in real time. It is a user-friendly way to capture electrodermal activity (EDA), which tells about the activation of the sympathetic nervous system.

This series of articles is about stress and the ways to measure it. Parts 1 and 2 describe the fight or flight reaction and how the body reacts to chronic stress. Methods for long-term monitoring are presented in part 3. In this article we explain the Moodmetric measurement and how to interpret the data.

How is the Moodmetric ring measurement done?

The Moodmetric smart ring measures stress as a physiological phenomenon. This is done by interpreting electrodermal activity that tells about the sympathetic nervous system activation.

Increased sympathetic nervous system activation makes sweat glands work harder. This can be seen in greater conductance of the skin.

Conductance measurement requires two electrodes of conductive material. The band of the Moodmetric ring works as a set of electrodes. It consists of two silver coated steel rings and an insulator band in between them. 

How the Moodmetric ring works

To achieve a good and steady reading, the electrodes need be in contact with an area of the skin where the eccrine sweat gland density is high. This density can vary from 400/cm2 on the palm of the hand to about 80/cm2 on the upper arm.

Accurate skin conductance measurement can be done from the palm side of hand. A finger ring has an optimal position from the accuracy point of view and the Moodmetric ring is a ring for this reason. The actual point of measurement is on the inside of the finger and at best the signal is completely unbroken.

The ring measures continuously and stores the data inside the ‘stone’. The mobile app does not need to be turned on or open, nor the phone near the ring. When the app is activated and the calendar icon chosen, the ring sends the data to the app via a bluetooth connection. The measuring and data storing to the ring continue immediately. The real-time signal – in other words, the ongoing measuring in process – can be observed at any time on the app.

Research by the Finnish Institute of Occupational health (2015)  shows that the signal of the Moodmetric ring is comparable to that of a laboratory device. The ring is suitable for field studies too.

The Moodmetric signal is real time

The Moodmetric signal is the violet curve on the mobile app that can be observed in real time. It is the raw measurement signal, autoscaled in order to have the whole amplitude visible even during strong reactions.

The Moodmetric ring real time curve

The curve enables the analysis of single reactions. Even a thought – excitement, idea, awe – can cause a peak and is registered with only a 1-2 second physiological delay.

Interpreting the raw signal requires expertise in the measurement method and understanding of the possible sources of error.

The Moodmetric stress measurement data

The raw signal for electrodermal activity (EDA) is difficult to interpret. Strong reactions can easily be spotted on the curve, but mathematical methods are needed to gain further insight.

The Moodmetric level has been developed to provide accurate EDA measurement data that is easy to interpret. The algorithms count an index from 1 to 100 so that 1 is the lowest the person can reach. This is possible, for example, in deep sleep. 100 is the maximum level of arousal, strongest possible reaction. Since we are all individuals, the Moodmetric measurement method is designed to find the minimum and maximum levels of each person within the first 12 hours of taking the ring into use. This is called the calibration period. The ring should be recalibrated when handing it over to another user.

The Moodmetric real time viewThe MM level on the app, both the numeric value and the curve being drawn, show the person’s ongoing activity and level of excitement for the past few minutes. The MM level does not indicate single reactions, but changes fast if the arousal level of the person increases or decreases rapidly. Increasing is first visible in the growing amplitude and the raising trend of the Moodmetric curve, then in the higher numeric value for the MM level.

It is easy to get to 100. The challenge lies in working out the ways in which to get the MM level as low as possible.

When calculating the MM level, the algorithms minimize the effect of finger movement and skin moisture. The MM level is comparable between users. If two persons are placed in the same environment and situation, it is possible to observe which one is calmer.

There is no momentary optimal value

It is normal for the Moodmetric level to fluctuate between 1 and 100 during the day. No momentary value is good or bad.

It is equally important to acknowledge that the Moodmetric measurement does not tell whether a reaction is positive or negative. The Moodmetric ring is not a detector of emotions as such.

The fluctuation of stress levels is different for everyone

There are people who react fast and strong, while others respond more calmly. For instance, creative people are often very susceptible to stimuli, which can translate into high and fluctuating MM levels. In contrast, a person doing work that requires much concentration over long periods of time might have low MM levels throughout the working day.

The levels can be high due to excitement and energy, or low due to intense concentration. All this is positive. The levels might also be high due to pressure and lack of control at work. Low figures in turn can tell of boredom or even depression. For an accurate assessment, the measurement data always needs to be complemented with the ring wearer´s own perception of the situation. Only the person in question knows whether a set 100 tells about excitement or irritation.

A successful team is heterogeneous also by the way they react

On average, it is productive at work to have people of different temperaments. Depending on the work, of course, a team consisting only of individuals with either a very mild or a very strong natural way of reacting is probably not as productive as a more heterogeneous team.

The Moodmetric stress measurement data increases our understanding of the different ways in which people react to various situations. This is important from the point of view of health and well-being; to challenge and grow, we should look within and learn from our experiences rather than compare ourselves to others.

The 24-hour MM average level is what it’s all about

The Moodmetric smart ring measures the reactions of the sympathetic nervous system on a scale of 1 to 100. When the 24-hour average value is around 50, there is enough recovery in correlation to the load.

Fluctuation of the MM levels during the day can vary much between different individuals. High daily figures are no cause for worry if the person feels energetic enough and has a restful night: It is the 24-hour MM average level that counts. The same goes for someone whose MM levels don’t peak during the day.

The point is demonstrated in the graphs below: Two persons have exactly the same 24-hour MM average level of 46, which signifies a good balance between rest and activity, but their autonomous nervous systems are activated in different ways and by different stimuli during night and day.

Measuring stress with the Moodmetric ring and understanding the data

The more you use the ring, the more information you gather to help you adjust your behavior. It is therefore recommended that the ring is worn also during nighttime.

Feedback from users of the Moodmetric ring indicate that the MM level correlates with a user’s own perception of their situation. If the 24-hour average is around 50, the energy levels are normal. Values over 50 for long periods of time go hand in hand with the feeling of being overloaded; cracks in one’s well-being begin to show. Very low daily figures, on the other hand, might be a sign of depression.

The Moodmetric measurement helps the user to gain balance between load and recovery. The sources of stress and ways to recover differ from person to person. For this reason, the measurement data should never be examined in isolation, but further self-assessment by the individual is required. The Moodmetric ring and app are tools for a person seeking more balance in their life.

The complete set of 5 articles explains the Moodmetric measurement, science behind and the applications:

  1. Part 1: Fight or flight response
  2. Part 2: Chronic stress – The brain concludes that we are continuously in danger
  3. Part 3: Tools for long term and continuous stress measurement
  4. Part 4: The Moodmetric ring stress measurement and understanding the data
  5. Part 5: The Moodmetric measurement in preventive occupational health 

Moodmetric app now with Diary and more

Moodmetric Diary and Analytics features

The Moodmetric ring and app are for better stress management. The app is a simple and visual tool that helps the user to understand and react to stressful things in life.

The new Moodmetric App has now been released for both iPhone and Android users. The app works with current and new ring versions.

The new app gives more tools for stress management

The familiar features of the previous Moodmetric app are still there. The real-time view supports live follow-up on stress levels, and the much appreciated Daily diagram is as before.

The new app supports stress management even better with both more possibilities for user input and automatized analytics. Defining actions and categorizing events show clearly what are the stressors in life, and what brings energy.

Stress/Mood scatter plot

The most impactful new feature is the Stress/Mood scatter plot, that now combines the experienced mood in addition to the stress measurement data provided by the Moodmetric ring.

The Moodmetric level 0-100 is the vertical axis of the scatter plow. The same Moodmetric level is familiar from the previous app version, it is developed for simple reading of the measurement results. The higher the stress level, the higher the vertical position of the life category circles.

The self perceived mood is the horizontal axis. The more use the has noted an event to be of a positive mood, to more to the right it takes the life category circle.

Diary

The scatter plot is based on Diary which is automatically updated with the Moodmetric stress level information. The user can download the phone calendar events to Diary and add notes.

It is possible to add notes to events, choose a category and indicate happy, neutral or bad mood.

 

App development is team work

Planning and development of the new features have  been started at Moodmetric already in spring 2017. We would like to give special thanks to Eero Jaakonaho for the work on perfecting the user experience from the visual perspective.

Both the iOS and Android mobile app new features have been developed at Gofore, in close cooperation with Moodmetric. The end user was kept in mind throughout the project, for example the developers had the possibility to wear the Moodmetric ring. Flexible communication enabled a smooth progress, and the app release was made as planned well before the new ring version deliveries.

Download the new Moodmetric app from AppStore or GooglePlay. If you have an old version with data in, you will not loose it.

The Moodmetric cloud service is now open

Moodmetric cloud service

The Moodmetric cloud service is now open. The Moodmetric app data can be uploaded to cloud by obtaining cloud credentials.

The cloud service enables easy follow-up of the measurement trends and remote monitoring. It keeps the data safe even if the user´s phone is broken or gets lost.

The Moodmetric cloud service view

The users can synchronize data from several smart rings to the cloud platform, and also export the data as a CSV-file, to match Moodmetric data with other information.. The platform includes also a service for group monitoring, e.g. for monitoring the stress of teams or other organizational units. The platform provides also APIs for accessing the data and enabling to build third-party services.

The data sync from mobile to app is by default set to every three hours when within WiFi connection. The cloud data is thus possible to view almost real-time.

More information on using the cloud and applying the API (application programming interface) at our research site.

You can order the Moodmetric smart ring here

Corporate and research requests: [email protected]

 

 

 

 

Profile: Janika Haataja

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.”

The Moodmetric smart ring package / design by Janika Haataja

Janika Haataja´s beautiful graduation project can be viewed here.

Smaller and Smarter version now available

We are happy to inform that we have completed the design of a completely new version of the Moodmetric Ring! It has several improvements compared to the current beta, that was introduced at the end of 2014.

The beta version is fully functional and has been heavily tested for ten months. Both the ring and app have worked very well and according to all expectations.

We have received a lot of feedback, which mostly concern about aesthetics of the ring.  Size matters and we have continuously worked on getting the ring even smaller. The main factor is the performance of the electronics module, leading to what kind of battery it requires.

After a six month development process we have managed to significantly reduce the size of the module, hence the “stone” of the ring. This is a great achievement and we are proud to present a perfect example of an electronics miniaturisation project. After all, a reference device used in laboratories is size of a butter packet! In the picture below the Moodmetric ring on a very narrow finger:

 

ring2

New features include an alternating current measurement, which prevents oxidation of the ring. Charging and low battery indication leds are added based on the test user feedback, and several other small adjustments have been made.

The Moodmetric app is free to download from the AppStore and works together with your ring immediately. It shows live emotion data always when you have the app open. The continuously updating Moodmetric number tells your emotional intensity level and is comparable among different users.

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The design and visual aspects are extremely important for us. However, we can not yet provide as many design variants as requested. We hope to be in a position to offer a selection of rings to fit the taste of both women and and men in the near future, and will let you know as soon as we have news about this.

We will produce an initial batch of the new, smaller version of the Moodmetric ring in just a couple of weeks.

Please contact us at [email protected] to order one of the first samples.

See here how the rings were manufactured http://www.moodmetric.com/assembling-the-rings/