What will researchers think of next? Miguel Bruns Alonso, a Ph.D. student at Delft University of Technology, has developed a special pen which measures a person's stress levels while using it. Plus, Alonso claims that the special pen will help reduce that stress. For example, the heart rate of his research subjects using the anti-stress pen fell by an average of 5%.
His design is based on the notion that stressed people tend to play with their pens in their hands. When encouraged to check this nervous play or make more gentle movements, the person can regain control over a stressful situation.
How does it work? When the stress pen detects "nervous"' movements, it uses built-in electronics and electromagnets to provide a counterweight to the person's "nervous" movements. Also, when the pen detects rapid movements associated with stress, it gradually becomes more difficult to move around, thereby encouraging the person to write in a more relaxed way...which allows the pen to move more easily again.
Think of the benefits...for your students as they write responses during exams. Or, if there is a red-ink version, mathematics teachers can use them as they grade the exams!
Unfortunately, Alonso's anti-stress pen is but a prototype as part of his doctoral research. Maybe someday, it will be available for purchase (and use).
Source: ScienceDaily, December 22, 2010