Affectiva releases Bluetooth-enabled emotional arousal sensor

By Chris Gullo
06:39 am
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Q Sensor 2.0Affectiva released the second generation of its Q Sensor this week, a wearable wireless biosensor that measures emotional arousal (excitement, anxiety, and calm) via skin conductance, as well as temperature and movement. The Q Sensor 2.0 adds Bluetooth functionality and the ability for its real-time emotion data to integrate with third-party mobile apps.

The Q Sensor 2.0 lists for $2,000, including activity software for Mac and Windows, with bulk and educational discounts available. As an example of its potential applications, the company highlighted in a press release a Stanford University team that is using the Q Sensor 2.0 "to prototype responsive games that offer new challenges to keep people engaged based on their arousal level."

Affectiva was founded in 2009 by two MIT scientists and started as a research project on autism at MIT’s Media Lab. The company received a $5.7 million second round of financing this summer, led by WPP’s insight group Kantar and Myrian Capital, who now have seats on Affectiva’s board of directors. At the time, the company said it intended to use the funding to develop the Q Sensor 2.0 as well as its Affdex emotion-tracking software. Another Media Lab start-up, Ginger.io, is developing similar software for mobile devices that aims to give pharma companies and providers detailed data on patient behavior to more effectively target new drugs and therapies.

“We brought research-quality EDA data together with the mobile, wearable features researchers love and real-time Bluetooth technology that opens up a whole new field of applications," stated Dave Berman, CEO of Affectiva, in a press release. “The Q Sensor 2.0 makes it easy to add a real-time emotion measurement dimension to your research and clinical practice."

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Read the press release after the jump.

PRESS RELEASE -- MIT spin-off Affectiva, the leader in emotion measurement technologies, announced availability today of the Q™ Sensor 2.0, the next generation biosensor that measures physiological signs of people's emotional states such as excitement and stress.

Targeted for researchers and cutting-edge practitioners in psychology, health and user experience, the Q 2.0 now includes Bluetooth capability that enables emotion data to be displayed in real-time as it’s collected.

The real-time display of unspoken emotional reactions allows researchers to make immediate adjustments to their protocols. A market researcher, for instance, can monitor focus group participants for strong yet silent reactions and encourage quiet participants to share their feedback. A therapist can use Q 2.0 to gauge the effectiveness of a patient’s in-session treatment for an anxiety disorder. A researcher building an interactive simulation can incorporate the real-time data from the Q Sensor to modify the simulation based on the wearer’s reaction.

In addition, the Bluetooth connectivity also enables developers to create tablet and smart phone applications that leverage the Q 2.0 emotion data. These applications automatically adapt to a person’s excitement or engagement level based on the real-time feedback.

A Stanford University team is using the Q Sensor 2.0 to prototype responsive games that offer new challenges to keep people engaged based on their arousal level. "We see this signal as a potential joystick into game play," said Byron Reeves, a professor in the communications department at Stanford University.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition recently showcased a Q Sensor 2.0 that sent an alert to a veteran's smart phone when his stress signals exceeded a threshold. That way, the veteran was proactively alerted to make use of his custom-built quiet room.

The Q Sensor works by monitoring electrodermal activity (EDA), which is an electrical change in the skin that varies with activation of the sympathetic nervous system. The Q also measures temperature and movement. Unlike traditional systems for research-grade EDA measurement, the Q Sensor is wireless and easy to set up, so it can be used in a variety of real life settings.

“We brought research-quality EDA data together with the mobile, wearable features researchers love and real-time Bluetooth technology that opens up a whole new field of applications," said Dave Berman, CEO of Affectiva. “The Q Sensor 2.0 makes it easy to add a real-time emotion measurement dimension to your research and clinical practice."

The Q Sensor 2.0, with software and warranty, lists for $2,000 with discounts available for bulk and educational use. To download software, view sample data or order sensors, visit http://www.affectiva.com/q-sensor/.

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