Research study at Tampere University followed stress level fluctuations of persons working in two different offices. Study group of Jari Viik applied the Moodmetric smart rings as physiological measurement devices. They were the first research group to test a new tool: Mobile app that stores raw measurement signal.
Associate Professor Jari Viik works at the Tampere University Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology at a unit ’Physiological Measurements Systems and Methods’. He led the measurements in a study that is a collaboration project between Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and Tampere University. We interviewed him after the research related measurements had been completed.
What is your research about?
The aim of the study was to find out the effect of different interior materials on perceived stress and recovery.
Why did you want to capture EDA (electrodermal activity) measurement data? What other data did you collect?
We wanted to assess changes in the activity of the autonomous system as physiological responses. The EDA measurement enables defining the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. As another physiological signal we used the ECG measurement. From the ECG data we defined the distances of consecutive R-peaks. The heart rate variability analysis based on this enables analyzing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activation. In addition the state of the participants was evaluated with psychological metrics and subjective experiences.
Did the study group have prior experience on EDA measurements?
We have performed EDA measurements before. Tampere University Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology has a versatile research equipment intended for physiological measurements, that enables measuring changes in skin conductivity.
How did you choose the Moodmetric smart ring as a research device? Why would you say it is good as a research device?
We wanted to realize the EDA measurement easily and unobtrusively during the study. We were also keen to collect data about mental load in normal daily life. For these purposes the Moodmetric ring was the most appropriate solution
You were the first research project to use a new tool, Mobile Scope, to collect raw data. Why was this tool necessary for you? What kind of research would you recommend this for?
The collection of raw data during the study is crucial in assessing of sympathetic nervous system responses in our study. Studies often uses data collected from the Moodmetric smart ring to the cloud service to obtain one data sample per minute. This is not sufficient to assess rapid changes in the sympathetic nervous system. In our study, we needed EDA measurement values per second. The first solution available, raw data collected via PC (Moodmetric PC Scope), was not stable enough for our needs. We wanted to make sure we could get the raw data stored reliably. This was made possible by a new mobile application (Moodmetric Mobile Scope).
What kind of research projects can benefit from collecting data similar to what was done in your project?
Research projects to measure and evaluate rapid responses / changes in the sympathetic nervous system. Such studies often involve giving the participants various stimuli or tasks to perform. Changes in skin electrical conductivity due to sympathetic nervous system activation are usually more noticeable with EDA than heart rate variability analysis.
Without the new Mobile Scope app, we would not have been able to reliably store raw data from our own tests. In addition, the computer application would have caused an external disturbance to the test situation that could have significantly affected the test results of the subjects and the reliability of the EDA data.
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Read more about the research project ‘Wood for good’ here.
Moodmetric: During the study described above, Mobile Scope was still a beta version. The tool is now commercially available. Read more here.