7. Q sensor
The Q-sensor from Affectiva, a start-up out of MIT’s Media Lab, records galvanic skin response, tiny changes in the amount of sweat produced by the skin and a proxy for stress, excitement and attention. Like the Zeo did for brain-based sleep monitoring, the Q-sensor is the first attempt to robustly measure galvanic skin response outside of the lab environment, creating a novel sea of data.
“We are still doing a lot of work to unlock what this data has to tell,” says Oliver Wilder-Smith, the product manager at Affectiva. “As we get more data from people in real world settings, we are discovering new ways to make sense of it.”
The device isn’t aimed at consumers, in part because the findings can be difficult to interpret. Exercise, for example, also increases sweat. But the Q-sensor is being applied in both research, including studies of children with autism, who often have difficult verbalizing what makes them stressed, and in marketing, where it can help gauge shoppers’ interest in particular products or commercials.