Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux.
Although you probably don't need an app to tell if someone's lying, you might need one to remind you when to chill out. And, to help with that, MIT and Georgia Tech researchers are harnessing Google Glass to act as a stress monitor.
Their Android app, BioGlass, tracks two physiological markers related to anxiety (respiratory and heart rates) using the Google device. How? Glass' built-in accelerometer, gyroscope, and camera can pick up subtle body movements produced by our heartbeat and breathing — because the device is, you know, right there on our heads. With this information, researchers hope to help us become more aware of what stresses us out, thereby making it easier to either avoid or deal with that thing/event/parent/friend and stick with the things that keep us calm.
However, the app isn't widely available yet, and it's difficult for BioGlass to track these heart/breath markers when we're walking, running, or really doing any sort of movement. Also, at a $1,500 price tag, Glass isn't exactly the most accessible way to track stress levels.
Then there's the fact that similar stress-busting technologies already exist. Deepak Chopra's Leela uses the Xbox Kinect to monitor your breathing, helping you get the most out of relaxing meditations. Samsung's Galaxy S5 gadgets also come with a stress-monitor app that tracks heart rate variability. And, we're already dealing with a surge of wearable fitness trackers, many of which can monitor your heart rate — even while you're in motion.
But, BioGlass is still an intriguing development as wearable tech becomes more integrated with our actual lives. For example, a gadget that can tell you when it, itself, is stressing you out — or otherwise starting to damage to your health — could definitely be valuable. And, anxiety-monitoring seems like a natural complement to the growing range of emotion-tracking apps already available.
To learn more about BioGlass, check out the video below. At the very least, it's more complex than a feelings chart.