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Smartphones Can Help ­S Keep Stress at Bay

By New Scientist

March 20, 2013

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University of Cambridge researcher Dirk Trossen has created the AIRS app, which uses all of the sensors built into mobile devices to measure physical changes in the user. There are more than 60 values AIRS can record, including surrounding noise level, social activity, changing environmental conditions, and posture. "You can also track moods expressed through emoticons, and use attached monitors to provide pulse and heart-rate data," Trossen says.

Essex University researchers have developed a program that analyzes AIRS data and creates a story-inspired visualization on a computer. Trossen says the goal is to get away from preconceived notions of what is an important indicator of stress, such as heart rate, and to make users aware of the ways stress can negatively impact them.

"The fact that today's workforce is likely to work longer than the previous generation increases the importance of stress management as an aspect of general well-being," Trossen says. "We want users to be aware of the ways stress can negatively impact them." Using available mobile technology, the researchers hope to ultimately reduce the burden on healthcare systems.

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