The Moodmetric smart ring is a prime example of Finnish innovation in the area of well-being technology. Vigofere Oy was set up as a company in 2013 to commercialize the invention of Henry Rimminen, D.Sc., who had developed a smart ring which measures electrodermal activity (EDA). The ability to measure EDA reliably outside of test laboratory conditions was revolutionary.
How it all begun
As a researcher at Aalto University, Henry Rimminen had worked on various sensors and methods for measuring physiological activity. Fitness trackers were a growing trend and devices based on measuring heart rate had been available for consumers for some time already.
Measuring electrodermal activity had been in research use for over a hundred years, but there were no practical applications of the measurement method on the market for consumers. It was this challenge that Henry Rimminen aimed to solve.
Our bodies react to external stimuli, both psychological and physical. This triggers off the sympathetic nervous system, the activity of which can be measured by how the eccrine sweat glands respond. These glands are dense on the palm of our hands, making them the optimum location to place the measuring sensor on.
EDA, or skin conductance, is a phenomenon which was discovered by two researchers, Charles Vigoroux and Richard Féré in the late 19th century. The name of the company, Vigofere Oy, derives from the names of these two trailblazers.
In laboratory conditions EDA is measured by placing electrodes on the skin, usually on the tip of two fingers. For an accurate reading, no movement is allowed.
To develop a consumer product, Henry Rimminen had to overcome several challenges:
- Downsizing the measuring device from the size of a block of cheese to as small as possible.
- Instead of restricting the use of two fingers, the device had to be effortless to wear in everyday life.
- The results should not be affected by physical movement.
- Data transfer should be wireless.
In the autumn of 2015 the first commercial version of the Moodmetric smart ring was launched. It was the result of many iterative rounds of research and development. Once the electronics and measuring capability were deemed robust enough, designer Vesa Nilsson provided the ring its Scandinavian look and feel. Vesa Nilsson is famous for transformational and clean design. For further information, see Oz Jewel.
One of the key principles Henry Rimminen followed right from the start was ease of use: It was imperative that the data the ring collects could be effortlessly retrieved, read and managed. Developing an application running on a smart phone was the next logical step.
The mobile application had to incorporate two basic elements:
- The index/level with the numeric values 1-100 is calculated from the raw data and show the alertness level of the person wearing the ring. High numeric figures signify stress or excitement, low figures a sense of calm.
- A round diagram demonstrates the fluctuation of the stress levels during 12-hour intervals. The use of colour make it easy to visualize, in one glance, the different levels of alertness, sliding from red for high levels on the outer peripheral of the diagram to the light greens of low stress levels on the inner circle of the diagram. For further information on the Moodmetric index and data interpretation, see here.
One interesting thing to add is that the Moodmetric measurement data only compares to the wearer, not to reference data.
Vigofere Oy / Moodmetric today
In 2020 Vigofere Oy has been in business for over six years and still has a fully Finnish ownership. R&D is all done in Finland, as is the assembly and packing of the product too.
Moodmetric serves consumers, researchers, companies and health professionals globally. For companies and health professionals Moodmetric provides a measuring service for preventive stress management. Research institutes have been the first to utilize the technology and the ring in their work. For further information see our research page.
Stress is a positive thing, when it is well balanced. Our mission at Moodmetric is to help each and everyone to find their individual and optimum way to manage stress in all situations. Our goal is to significantly reduce the negative effects of chronic stress on individual, organizational and societal levels.