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NEC technology enables early detection of stress

Tokyo, April 6, 2018NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) today announced the development of a technology that accurately estimates chronic stress based on physiological information, such as accelerometer signals, skin temperature and electro-dermal activity obtained by a wearable sensor.

Traditionally, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) questionnaire has been a useful tool for measuring chronic stress. Although this questionnaire is effective for periodically evaluating an individual's level of stress every few months, it remains difficult to implement frequently because it places a burden on respondents. In addition to this, conventional technologies that gather physiological information using wearable sensors tend to classify persons under stress into just two stages—high stress and low stress—while failing to detect signs of chronic stress.

This new technology enables highly accurate estimates of chronic stress at each stage of its onset using newly discovered physiological features based on psychological knowledge. By measuring the status of certain psychological conditions, this technology recognizes signs of high stress, which enables the early implementation of preventative measures (Fig. 1).

Tests of this technology using a wearable wristband sensor found that chronic stress can be estimated more accurately compared to conventional technology (Fig. 2). Based on the comparison of the stress scores obtained through the PSS questionnaire, it has been confirmed that chronic stress can be accurately estimated, and that the technology enables classification of up to six stages of stress, compared to conventional technologies that only classify two stages, high and low (Fig. 1).

"This technology helps to ensure that individuals take effective measures for daily reducing their levels of stress based on accurate predictions that are formulated through highly personalized data," said Masayuki Mizuno, general manager, Biometrics Research Laboratories, NEC Corporation.

Figure 1: Chronic stress changes and preventative measures

Figure 2: Estimation accuracy increases by detecting changes over time in physiological information


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