University of Twente Student Theses


Developing a tool to monitor stress levels in infants : an explorative research

Meggelen, D.A. van (2021) Developing a tool to monitor stress levels in infants : an explorative research.

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Abstract:Chronic stress in infants is hard to accurately pinpoint but can have a significant impact on their development and long-term wellbeing. Currently, it is possible to monitor stress-levels by letting parents fill in a questionnaire, by taking cortisol samples to analyze in a lab, or by putting on wearable sensors. Such tools are lacking in reliability, accessibility, or are not fit for continuous use making them unfit for long-term monitoring of stress levels. Therefore, this research project aims to develop a more reliable tool that can be used to monitor stress levels in infants at home. By aiming to create a solution that would provide such continuous use whilst guaranteeing reliable measurements, a wearable sock has been developed that would use heart rate variability, muscle tension, and electrodermal activity to reliably monitor an infant’s stress levels. Accompanied by a mood tracking app which includes caregivers in the process, the product would collect both objective measurement data as well as contextual data concerning the caregiver’s feelings and experiences. Evaluating the prototypes based on user experience and stability showed that the app was suitable and valued, ready to be worked out further. An addition would be to involve more positive aspects as to balance out the negativity such that users get a neutral experience; they are not actively influenced by the product. The evaluation of the wearable prototype showed inconclusive results, meaning that additional research would be needed to assess whether reliable measurements could be guaranteed on the ankle. Additionally, it would be very important to consider ethical aspects in this project: thinking thoroughly about the matter of transparency towards the caregivers regarding the collected data, and the responsibilities of all stakeholders when using these products. Overall, a solid foundation has been laid for this project to continue building on, so eventually, the reliability and effectiveness of these products can be guaranteed and the initial problem can be solved.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:01 general works, 02 science and culture in general
Programme:Creative Technology BSc (50447)
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