Assessing stress via your phone
The World Health Organization predicts that stress will be the leading illness in industrialised nations by 2030, and it cost Germany’s economy €364 billion in 2010.
While information overload certainly contributes to modern society’s escalating levels of stress, Soma Analytics uses smartphones as the key tool to diagnose the condition, and to identify it early enough to prevent it from tipping towards more serious illnesses such as depression.
Soma operates on the principle that the pitch of your voice, the quality of your speech and declines in motors skills are good indices of stress. When anxious, it becomes harder to modulate your speech, a shift that you can detect when you make phone-calls. You will also tend to make typing errors in texts and emails, indicating poor hand-to-eye concentration. And your sleeping patterns will be light or disturbed, something a phone can detect from noises, if you take your handset into your bedroom at night.
The app is being developed by four students at Munich University: Peter Schneider, Jonann Huber, Christopher Lorenz and Fabian Alt. Already fellows of TEDMED and elite youth global entrepreneurship network Kairos Society, the team is now one of the first of seven startups picked up by the new London wing of leading Boston health accelerator Healthbox, winning £50,000 in investment and mentoring plus office space for three months.
Image 'stressed' courtesy of Nathan Congleton
Last updated: 15th of July, 2014