Development and evaluation of an ambulatory stress monitor based on wearable sensors

Jongyoon Choi, Beena Ahmed, Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic stress is endemic to modern society. However, as it is unfeasible for physicians to continuously monitor stress levels, its diagnosis is nontrivial. Wireless body sensor networks offer opportunities to ubiquitously detect and monitor mental stress levels, enabling improved diagnosis, and early treatment. This article describes the development of a wearable sensor platform to monitor a number of physiological correlates of mental stress. We discuss tradeoffs in both system design and sensor selection to balance information content and wearability. Using experimental signals collected from the wearable sensor, we describe a selected number of physiological features that show good correlation with mental stress. In particular, we propose a new spectral feature that estimates the balance of the autonomic nervous system by combining information from the power spectral density of respiration and heart rate variability. We validate the effectiveness of our approach on a binary discrimination problem when subjects are placed under two psychophysiological conditions: mental stress and relaxation. When used in a logistic regression model, our feature set is able to discriminate between these two mental states with a success rate of 81% across subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6030940
Pages (from-to)279-286
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012



  • Electrodermal activity
  • heart rate variability
  • mental stress
  • wearable sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Medicine(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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