Stress at the workplace can produce a wide range of symptoms and has previously only been describable in subjective terms. Headache after a day at the office? Exhausted from all the noise in the shop? Stress as a possible cause is now becoming objectively measurable. Together with its project partners, the University of Rostock is developing a sensor-equipped headband that will form an objective basis for workplace improvements.
So far, the analysis of mental workload is carried out by using checklists, questionnaires, interviews or group discussions. However, the received result is subjective and the evaluation is expensive. Furthermore, the informative value is severely limited.
SEBA is intended to objectively measure the mental stress (stress or negative emotions), relevant environmental parameters such as e.g. noise, lighting conditions or temperature, as well as unobtrusively visualize critical states to the user.
In addition, the employers are informed of disturbing environmental parameters (for example, flickering light) to enhance the working or desktop environment.
A headband was chosen as the sensor unit, as it may include sensors for measuring environmental parameters and vital signs. Environmental parameters are for example: noise, light (brightness, color, frequency), air quality (pressure, CO2 content, flow, humidity).
The vital signs include, for example: blinking frequency (EOG), head movement, brain activity (EEG), sweating (skin conductance), heart activity (heart rate, heart rate variability).
The data is transmitted to a software specially developed for the project. The employee receives user-related feedback and the employer is provided with data on disturbing or harmful environmental parameters (and possibly averaged vital data). Particular attention is paid to the consideration of privacy and personal rights of employees.
The system enables employers to perform workplace analysis and users to analyze and counter critical conditions.