Stress can be the result of so many things – some types of stress is even of the good kind. But for most people, pressures from work or family life piling on top of each other play a huge part in making their stress levels hit the roof. For me, it’s when my computer freezes when I’m on a deadline and I can’t switch it off in case I lose my work. All I can do is sit, look at the screen and conjure up an image of throwing the thing out of the window…
The stress epidemic is about get out of hand – over 40 million Americans have to date been diagnosed with clinical anxiety and 200,000 prescriptions sedative drugs are written out each year. But unfortunately people seem to be unable to reduce stress without making drastic changes is their lives.
So, to help the world deal with this particular problem, four neuroscientists from MIT have used their knowledge of how stress affects the body to create a prototype wrist watch that uses sensors to monitor people’s autonomic nervous system (perspirations, respiration and heart rate) and their movements to determine if the wearer is in ‘stress mode’. When Bandu, as it is called, detects bodily stress, it will flash a message that reminds the wearer to slow down and take a break, suggesting actions that can help such as ‘play a song’ or ‘take five deep breaths’. This can be personalised so that instead of the pre-set messages, Bandu will play a song or display a message of your choice.
The information is recorded onto an accompanying app, so that over time Bandu will figure out which de-stress techniques works best for you. All readings will also be sent to the creator’s lab, Neumitra.
Long-term stress can be damaging to one’s health and in the worst case scenario fatal, so should be taken seriously. Neumitra hopes that Bandu can help with this.