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Digital Stress Coach 

Stress has become a widespread problem in today’s society. Studies have shown that one out of three employees feels extremely stressed at work. For the majority, this also leads to physical and psychological complaints. In the long run, stress can even cause burnouts, depression and anxiety disorders. Indirectly, this also affects our economy. In Europe alone the annual cost of stress is estimated at 514 billion euros in productivity loss and 63 billion euros in direct healthcare costs.

Despite the far-reaching consequences of stress complaints, current stress management strategies are rather limited. Stress detection is usually done based on questionnaires that only represent a snapshot of reality and are susceptible to subjective interpretations. Moreover, stress coaching usually focuses on curative rather than preventive actions. It generally also consists of face-to-face appointments, which is not very (cost-)efficient. Yet, current mobile and online alternatives are often too impersonal to be effective.

In close collaboration with clinical partners, imec is developing a digital stress coach platform, consisting of highly accurate and low-power wearables and analytics technology to detect and manage stress. This platform will not only be able to detect physiological stress indicators, but will also combine this with contextual and self-reported information. Based on these data, the digital stress coach could then offer personalized, just-in-time feedback to prevent and manage stress.

Copyright imec 2017