Too many couples are familiar with this scenario: First, you're asking your significant other a simple question. Their answer doesn't quite satisfy you, so you raise your voice a bit. Before you know it, you're both shouting. How do we never see this coming soon enough to avoid an argument?
While people may lack the self-awareness to stop these tense conversations from escalating, technology may do a better job. That's what researchers at the University of Southern California are banking on. They've invented a wristband that can read things like temperature and heart rate to alert couples when they may need to take a deep breath.
The device is based on extensive research on what factors tend to predict a fight. Along with the physiological measures of stress, the scientists collected data on the language couples used and the volume of their voices. After analyzing all that, they created an algorithm that's accurate 86 percent of the time. Not bad.
It's not on the market yet, though. The researchers are keeping it in the lab to learn more about what leads to relationship strife. "Our overarching goal, and hope, is to develop technologies for measuring and analyzing human bio-behavioral processes in natural settings to improve our scientific understanding of the human condition," the study's engineering lead Shri Narayanan told CNET.
Eventually though, the gadget will let people know they could be headed for a fight about five minutes before it happens. Then, it'll recommend they spend a few minutes meditating or do something else to cool off. The scientists also hope to personalize the devices based on what gets under each wearer's skin and what calms them down.
Of course, arguments with your partner aren't always able to be avoided. But becoming aware of your mental state and getting into a more balanced one can only make tough discussions more productive, so we hope this new technology becomes available ASAP.