Wearables and Location Tracking Technologies for Mental-State Sensing in Outdoor Environments

Amit Birenboim, Martin Dijst, Floortje E. Scheepers, Maartje P. Poelman, Marco Helbich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Advances in commercial wearable devices are increasingly facilitating the collection and analysis of everyday physiological data. This article discusses the theoretical and practical aspects of using such ambulatory devices for the detection of episodic changes in physiological signals as a marker for mental state in outdoor environments. A pilot study was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of using commercial wearables in combination with location tracking technologies. The study measured physiological signals for fifteen participants, including heart rate, heart rate variability, and skin conductance. Participants’ signals were recorded during an outdoor walk that was tracked using a Global Positioning System logger. The walk was designed to pass through various types of environments including green, blue, and urban spaces, as well as a more stressful road crossing. The data that were obtained were used to demonstrate how biosensor information can be contextualized and enriched using location information. Significant episodic changes in physiological signals under real-world conditions were detectable in the stressful road crossing but not in the other types of environments. The article concludes that despite challenges and limitations of current off-the-shelf wearables, the utilization of these devices offers novel opportunities for evaluating episodic changes in physiological signals as a marker for mental state during everyday activities including in outdoor environments. Key Words: electrodermal activity, GPS, mental state, stress, wearable.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)449-461
Number of pages13
JournalProfessional Geographer
Volume71
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 American Association of Geographers.

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