This research in no way attempts to be scientific, extensive, or based on any proven data.

The main purpose of this ‘wearable’ technology is to help those with emotional dysregulation challenges. To help them recognise the heightened state of emotional arousal by sensing physiological and other behavioural changes and producing an noticeable output.

Emotional dysregulation refers to a poor ability to manage emotional responses or to keep them within an acceptable range of typical emotional reactions. This can refer to a wide range of emotions including sadness, anger, irritability, and frustration.

Emotional dysregulation tends to be one of a combination of challenges sufferers have to deal with. But one challenge that probably affects the rest more than any other. With severe sufferers retreating into their ‘Fight/Flight or Freeze’ instincts at the smallest of stress moments. At which point its hard for them to come back to more logical thinking, responses and move on.

Having something that can recognise this state for them and give noticeable feedback can perhaps go towards bringing them out of this state of mind. Helping sufferers deal with this will remove an obstacle in the way of dealing with their other challenges.

What is emotion regulation?

Emotional self-regulation or emotion regulation is the ability to respond to the ongoing demands of experience with the range of emotions in a manner that is socially tolerable and sufficiently flexible to permit spontaneous reactions as well as the ability to delay spontaneous reactions as needed. It can also be defined as extrinsic and intrinsic processes responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying emotional reactions. Emotional self-regulation belongs to the broader set of emotion regulation processes, which includes both the regulation of one’s own feelings and the regulation of other people’s feelings.

Emotion regulation is a complex process that involves initiating, inhibiting, or modulating one’s state or behaviour in a given situation – for example, the subjective experience (feelings), cognitive responses (thoughts), emotion-related physiological responses (for example heart rate or hormonal activity), and emotion-related behaviour (bodily actions or expressions). Functionally, emotion regulation can also refer to processes such as the tendency to focus one’s attention to a task and the ability to suppress inappropriate behaviour under instruction. Emotion regulation is a highly significant function in human life.

Every day, people are continually exposed to a wide variety of potentially arousing stimuli. Inappropriate, extreme or unchecked emotional reactions to such stimuli could impede functional fit within society; therefore, people must engage in some form of emotion regulation almost all of the time. Generally speaking, emotion dysregulation has been defined as difficulties in controlling the influence of emotional arousal on the organization and quality of thoughts, actions, and interactions. Individuals who are emotionally dysregulated exhibit patterns of responding in which there is a mismatch between their goals, responses, and/or modes of expression, and the demands of the social environment. For example, there is a significant association between emotion dysregulation and symptoms of depression, anxiety, eating pathology, and substance abuse. Higher levels of emotion regulation are likely to be related to both high levels of social competence and the expression of socially appropriate emotions.


How is this condition acquired and who’s most at risk?

There are many pathways to acquiring this condition, and can happen to individuals at any moment in their life. Some causes can be early childhood trauma, child neglect, and traumatic brain injury. Individuals can have biological predispositions for emotional reactivity that can be exasperated by chronic low levels of invalidation in their environments resulting in emotional dysregulation. Emotional dysregulation can easily be missed as a concern in individuals diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders. Other than the children mentioned above, women are more than likely to have emotional dysregulation than males due to more intense experience of emotions, rumination, and more frequent environmental invalidation.

What are the physiological signs of an emotion de-regulation episode?

Situations where emotional dysregulation occur are usually activated by stress triggers. These can have physiological effects on the body, much the same as with regular high stress effects. It is these which need to find an equivalent sensor to monitor them.

  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Elevated blood pressure.
  • Increase in skin humidity.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline.
  • increase in breathing rate.

What’s out there already?

What technology that is out there already can be divided into several paths:

  • What wearable technology is out there, how does it work and how can it be re-purposed?

  • Is there a direct solution to this problem already?

Current wearable technology

  • Smart Watches + ‘Fitbit’ type wearables

‘Wearable’ technology has seen a boom in recent years, from simple GPS tracking to now include a range of health oriented sensors. or as part of a set of features and technology in these type of wearable gadgets:

  • Fitness trackers

Fitness trackers are wearable technology that measure some sort of exercise action or physiological action to it. In it’s simplest form it can be a pedometer with a connection to your smart phone to record your progress. In its advanced forms it can have GPS tracking, heart rate monitor, oxygen saturation sensors and advanced motion sensors to determined what type of activity you’re doing.

  • Smart Watches

Smart watches are slightly different to fitness trackers as they have more functions and features. Much more like a mini version of a personal computer on your wrist it can do more that is not related to fitness tracking or sensor monitoring. But for the fitness tracking and sensor monitoring they share the same basic electrical components as the Fitness trackers and similar features for expressing the data they collect.

  • Sensors used:

Any typical fitness band or smartwatch can come with up to 16 sensors inside, depending on the price. Some products have an IDK to develop new ways of using these sensors. E.g. FITBIT IDK

Barometer A Barometer is used in meteorology to measure atmospheric pressure and forecast short term changes in the weather.
Gyroscope The Gyroscope sensor measures the device’s angular velocity along 3 orthogonal axes (X, Y and Z).
Heart Rate (ECG) The Heart Rate sensor measures a person’s heart rate through the electrodes on the wearable in ‘Beats per minute’.
Orientation An Orientation sensor measures the orientation of a device relative to an orthogonal coordinate frame.
Ambient light sensor Most fitness trackers and smartwatches come with an ambient light sensor. It’s primary job is to tweak the brightness of the display as per surrounding light. This also helps in saving battery life.
3 axis accelerometer 3 axis accelerometer is the most common sensor that you will find inside a wearable. This sensor can track forward and backward movement, sense gravity and determine body’s orientation, position and also rate of speed change.
Altimeter Altimeter simply detects changes in height. It helps detect whether you are climbing stairs or going down a slope and accordingly helps in measuring calorie count.
Optical heart rate Almost every fitness tracker comes with an optical heart rate sensor. It’s job is to calculate your heart beats per minute. The sensor uses light to check the speed of blood flow on the wrist. When the heart beats, blood moves quickly inside the artery thus less light is reflected back to the sensor and is detected as a heart beat.
SpO2 monitor The colour of blood is examined by the sensor to understand the oxygen levels present in it. As Fitbit explains, “Deoxygenated blood, which is returned to your lungs via your veins, is a slightly darker red color than the fully oxygenated blood in your arteries. The sensors measure the relative reflection of red and infrared light from your blood via your wrist, and seeing how it varies as your heart beats, the device estimates your SpO2 value.”
Bioimpedance A bioimpedance sensor measures the resistance that your skin is offering to a small amount of electricity. The battery charger electrodes in the fitness tracker deliver a very small amount of current to measure sleep, heart rate, respiration rate, water level and more.
Proximity sensor Proximity sensor simply lets the device know that you are near the device and wants to use it. If you are not wearing the fitness tracker, this sensor enables the device to sleep and save battery when not in use. It is mostly used to turn on or off the display screen.
Compass A compass helps Map applications to run on a smartwatch and also gives the device a sense of direction.
Gesture sensors Gesture sensors can instruct the smartwatch to do certain activity when the hand is moved in a certain way. For example, if a wrist is flicked twice, the call will be disconnected or when the hand is moved in circles the stopwatch will start. Detecting these pre-fed motion is the job of gesture sensors.
UV sensor Some smartwatches also offer whether the sunlight outdoors is harmful or not. This is detected by the UV sensor which detects the UV radiation when you step outside.
Magnetometer A magnetometer works along with the GPS and compass to determine the exact coordinates of your location.
Electrodermal activity Electrodermal activity or EDA sensor is a new addition to wearables. It measures stress along with a heart rate tracker, ECG and skin temperature sensor. It detects small electrical changes in the sweat level of your skin and helps you manage your stress.
Skin temperature Skin temperature sensor detects slight changes in temperature to understand whether you are going to get fever. It also helps detect the start of menstrual cycle.

A very good article to read about sensors and what information they can collect: Sensors of Smart Devices in the Internet of Everything (IoE) Era: Big Opportunities and Massive Doubts -2019

Direct solution

An open-source (Arduino-driven) sensor for capturing high-quality emotional, physiological, and movement data that is 100% user-owned.

EmotiBit is a wearable sensor for capturing high-quality emotional, physiological, and movement data. It provides scientifically-validated sensing, making it an ideal tool for research. It’s open-source (Arduino-compatible) and the data can be streamed wirelessly to any platform, enabling artists and makers to unlock new perspectives on biometric signals.

EmotiBit is easy-to-use, so you can quickly integrate it into a class project. The data is 100% user-owned and can be directly recorded to the built-in SD card, empowering anyone to explore their own health and wellness without reservations about where that data might end up.

Packed with sensors in a wearable form-factor, EmotiBit is 100% customizable and hackable thanks to its open-source technology. EmotiBit is fully compatible with the Adafruit Feather ecosystem and Arduino. Easily tweak it to do anything you want!


With 16 data streams to play around with, there are infinite possibilities when it comes to creating projects with EmotiBit.

Data includes:

PPG (3-wavelength) that can derive heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration, oxygen saturation, hydration and (we believe) much more! EDA / GSR (electrodermal activity / galvanic skin response) reflecting sympathetic nervous system responses that are driven by cognitive and emotional arousal. 9-axis IMU (accel, gyro, mag) that can derive movements, activity, gesture, rotation, and cardinal direction. Body temperature that can be used to assess health as well as emotional reactions.

With 16 data streams to play around with, there are infinite possibilities when it comes to creating projects with EmotiBit.

Mentech - HUME

Mentech Innovation was founded by Erwin Meinders to give a voice to vulnerable people with misunderstood behaviour. As a volunteer at Severinus, a care organization for people with intellectual disabilities, he experienced people with a need for complex care but are often insufficiently able to express their emotions.

“His buddy Patrick, a man with a severe intellectual disability, cannot talk. One day his wringing shoes caused pain and discomfort, but this only became clear when his shoes were taken off after a lot of stress. This inspired Erwin to develop a smart sensor system that can recognize stress and emotions. “

Patrick is no exception. Many people with an intellectual disability or dementia are often unable to express their emotions or feelings.

HUME - The HUME is an emotion recognition platform based on sensors, behavioural models and machine learning. The sensors measure physiological characteristics such as heart rate, skin conduction and activity. This information is converted into usable information in the HUME database by means of behavioural models.

Research after completing the project

  • Agrilab


According to Fabacademy Agrilab, there is currently research being done on this topic of sensing moods in farm animals, a happy cow produces more milk etc. This final project won’t be on that scaled ;)

An article on the subject can be found here Measuring Farm Animal Emotions—Sensor-Based Approaches.

Chill Pill

This similar ‘mood’ orientated therapeutic device is specifically designed to help aid those who suffer from anxiety and stress disorders in a fast and effective way.

-Summary The Chill Pill device is specifically designed to help aid those who suffer from anxiety and stress disorders in a fast and effective way.

-Goal With this “Chill Pill” we aim to minimize and control the symptoms one is experiencing during a time of elevated stress. This device is designed with a vibration feature that alleviates panic symptoms by regulating body function. Finding successful relief with our device, we hope it will become a personal go-to solution to lessen the severe symptoms on a long-term basis.

  • Roadmap Incorporating different materials, sizes, personal heart rate repetition, independent battery and charging.

It’s not clear how it interacts between the sensor and the vibration motor (the image of the code is too compressed and not explicitly mentioned in the film.


That this is a good idea if others have developed this concept already and have managed to make a business from this concept.

Developing my idea should begin with one sensor, based on my knowledge and skills at this time. Further development spirals would include more sensors, and therefore multiple sources of input to evaluate a more accurate response of the device.