i3 | June 12, 2017

Keep Calm, Check Your Wearable

Veronica A. Lancaster
Wearable watch

Companies are diving into tracking stress through wearable technology that helps us engage in our overall well-being.

Let’s face it. We are a nation of stressed-out Americans. We juggle work and home life, keeping many balls in the air at once. While our always-connected technology is increasing our availability and productivity it also impacts our stress levels. The good news is technology also can help to monitor and manage our stress.

The American Psychological Association’s 2017 survey of how stress impacts American’s health and well-being includes a focus of how technology and social media impacts stress levels. The survey provides insight into our tech ownership and connectivity and found that 43 percent of Americans constantly check their emails, texts and social media accounts, and 18 percent believe the use of technology is a very or somewhat signifi cant source of stress.

Why not turn the tables and use technology to monitor stress? Health and fi tness technology manufacturers are doing just that. We have the ability to track our steps, calorie intake, heart rate and sleep, so it makes sense that we should observe our stress levels. Companies are diving into tracking stress through various measures helping us engage in our overall well-being.

Get Your Calm On


Spire is a wearable with a focus on tracking breathing patterns to promote calm and decreasing stress. Spire tracks breathing patterns to identify when a user is experiencing tension, is focused, or is in a state of calm by measuring the expansion and contraction of the torso when inhaling and exhaling. Spire’s app provides guidance to assist the user in destressing through guidance on the user’s breathing data. The app provides real-time feedback to allow the user to better control breathing, but also provides mindfulness and meditation techniques.

Fitbit’s Charge 2

Diving into mindfulness by including a new feature called “Relax,” Fitbit’s Charge 2 includes a five minute guided session to help you focus on deep breathing techniques. The Charge 2 determines the most comfortable breathing rate by measuring heart rate. The user gets biofeedback, animations and vibrations to help focus on inhaling and exhaling, providing feedback on how well the user did following the breathing exercise.

CTA's New Working Group

With this new focus on stress management through technology, CTA’s Health & Fitness Technology standardization committee just launched the Consumer Stress Monitoring Devices Working Group. This new working group is focused on creating definitions and performance standards for consumer stress monitoring technologies. Led by Ray Krasinski, director of standardization at Philips, the working group’s first project will be to create a standard that defines terms related to indicators relevant to stress monitoring technologies. This could lead to performance standards to measure stress-related characteristics.

The Consumer Stress Monitoring Working Group is the latest effort under health & fitness technology, joining other standardization efforts for consumer sleep monitoring technology, physical activity monitoring technology, as well as interoperability for consumer EEG data exchange.

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