Stress tracker tames drivers

March 04, 2015 // By Julien Happich
Based on scientific literature, pulse rate alone doesn't give an accurate reading of a person’s stress level (you could just be jogging), but combining it with other indicators such as skin conductance makes it possible to distinguish between good physical stress and bad emotional stress.

Some academic papers look into this to better secure biometric authentication and prevent forced access, for example to detect a stressful situation when someone with the right biometric credentials would be used as a live key.

In that case, monitoring stress would add another security layer to existing biometric templates, preventing fake or even non-living samples (a chopped finger or its equivalent fingerprint stamp). Other papers study the use of Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) data to distinguish between positive stress (seen as a form of excitement or high motivation) and poor motivation.

Software engineering company EPAM Systems looks at GSR data to monitor drivers’ stress levels, offering to analyse the data from a wrist-worn GSR sensor (two electrodes in direct contact with the skin and correlating it to the vehicle’s infotainment system (a first connection through Bluetooth LE then a GSM connection to the cloud for further analytics).

Driving can be stressful for all sorts of reasons. Some are inherent to the car’s parameters (warning indicators such as low fuel or low tire pressure, loud music or radio, high speed) and some are due to the on-going traffic, the weather conditions, navigational problems encountered by the driver. Then there is the driver exposed to long driving hours and tiredness, varying personal moods sometimes linked to private issues and occasionally turning into road rage.