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监测压力大小的可穿戴设备靠谱吗?

更新时间:2016-1-7 10:02:25 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Taking the (Often Imprecise) Measure of Stress
监测压力大小的可穿戴设备靠谱吗?

Research has long shown that stress is bad for you, but many people are not even aware when they are feeling stressed.

研究早已证明压力对人有害,但很多人都对自己身受的压力一无所觉。

Now, a number of new devices are sold as stress trackers, measuring signs of stress the way fitness tracking devices monitor steps and movement. The gadgets track the biological symptoms of stress — changes in skin perspiration, breathing patterns and heart rate — in hopes of helping people become aware of their stress levels.

近期上市的一些新设备号称可以像健身跟踪设备监测步伐和运动那样监测压力的体征。这些小玩意可以追踪人在受到压力时的生理症状——皮肤排汗、呼吸模式和心率的变化,以期帮助人们了解自己的压力水平。

One of them is Spire, a stonelike device that clips to a belt or bra and senses the expansion and contraction of the chest cavity during breathing. The device, which retails for $149.95, sends phone notifications when it detects a change in breathing patterns that may indicate stress. “Your breathing suggests you’re stressed,” it says. “Take a deep breath.”

Spire就是其中之一。这种小装置零售价为149.95美元,形状好像一块石头,可以别在皮带上或卡在文胸上,感知呼吸时胸腔的扩张和收缩。当它检测到你的呼吸模式发生了改变——表明你可能受到压力时,就会发送手机通知给你。“你的呼吸显示你感到有压力,”它会这么说。“来做个深呼吸吧”。

The Pip stress manager ($179 retail) uses electrical changes at the surface of the skin to measure an individual’s stress response. The user holds the teardrop-shaped device between the thumb and forefinger and the device collects data and analyzes it with charts and graphs that monitor stress on a given day or across weeks or months to find patterns, such as what time of day is most stressful for you.

Pip压力管理设备(零售价为179美元)利用人体皮肤表面的电变化来衡量人的应激反应。用户只要用拇指和食指捏住这个泪滴状的设备,它就可以收集数据,分析某一特定日子或者数周乃至数月内的压力并生成图表,并找到其中的模式所在,譬如你在一天中的什么时间最紧张之类。

The downside of most devices is that while breathing patterns and skin sweat certainly can signal stress, they can also indicate a range of emotions and activities. Physiologically, there is not much difference between the stress of a work deadline and the excitement of watching your favorite sports team. Even going for a brisk walk stimulates a similar response from the sympathetic nervous system, which runs the body’s fight or flight mechanism. The same thing occurs in certain stages of sleep.

不过,这类设备大多存在一个缺点:虽然呼吸和皮肤排汗模式无疑都是压力的信号,但它们也可能是多种其他情绪和活动的反映。从生理上来说,工作的截止期限给你的压力与你在观看最喜欢的队伍比赛时的兴奋之间并没有太大的区别。即使是轻快地散步也会刺激你的交感神经系统(它控制着人体的“战或逃”机制)产生类似的反应。在睡眠的某些阶段也是如此。

Most apps and devices that claim to track or reduce stress lack scientific rigor, said Dr. Rosalind Picard, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, who straps stress monitors onto the wrists of visitors to her Cambridge office.

大多数自称可以追踪或减少压力的应用程序和设备都缺乏科学严谨性,麻省理工学院(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)媒体实验室(Media Lab)的教授罗莎琳德·皮卡德(Rosalind Picard)博士说道。她喜欢给造访她在坎布里奇(Cambridge,麻省理工学院所在地)的办公室的访客们在手腕上绑上压力监测器。

It is hard to objectively determine someone’s stress in the real world — accounting for individual variation, diets, lifestyles, medication and other environmental factors, Dr. Picard said, adding, “If you want to learn about human variability, measure stress.”

皮卡德博士表示,在现实世界中要客观地判断一个人的压力水平十分困难,你需要考虑到个体差异、饮食、生活方式、药物和其他环境因素等,她又补充道:“如果你想知道人身上有多少变数的话,不妨试试测定压力吧。”

But that has not stopped Dr. Picard from trying. She is chief scientist at Empatica, which will soon release its $199 Embrace watch. It takes stress monitoring a step further than most by tracking skin temperature, movement, sleep, respiration, heart rate, heart rate variability and skin conductance, a measure of electrical charge that reflects changes in arousal. The watch vibrates when it detects a rising stress level. (The device is also designed to alert people with epilepsy of an impending seizure.)

但是,这并没有阻止皮卡德博士尝试的脚步。她是Empatica的首席科学家,该公司很快将发布Empatica手表,售价199美元。这种设备在压力监测方面比大多数同类产品更胜一筹,因为它跟踪了皮肤温度、运动、睡眠、呼吸、心率、心率变异性和皮肤电导性(反映唤起状态变化的一种电荷指标)。当手表检测到压力水平上升时就会振动(该装置也设计用于警告人即将癫痫发作)。

Neumitra, a start-up based in Boston, is scheduled to release a watchlike stress tracker early next year, but has not released pricing details. The device, said the company’s chief executive, Robert Goldberg, will turn people into “citizen scientists,” feeding the tracker’s algorithm to make it smarter about what’s causing their arousal.

总部设在波士顿的初创公司Neumitra计划明年初发布一款类似于智能手表的压力跟踪器,但尚未透露定价细节。公司的首席执行官罗伯特·戈德堡(Robert Goldberg)表示,该设备可令用户化身“平民科学家”,为跟踪器的算法提供资料,使其更加智能地解读出是什么导致他们被唤起。

If someone consistently shows signs of stress when heading to a particular client’s office or when driving on the highway, the tracker may link them to their favorite tunes or lead them through breathing exercises to help reduce their stress.

如果某人在前往特定客户的办公室时或者在高速公路上驾驶时一再现出压力迹象,跟踪器就会播放他喜爱的音乐,或是引导他进行呼吸练习以帮助他缓解压力。

Dr. Picard said she has worked with teachers who changed their approach when stress monitors showed their students’ anxiety triggers. One father had a long conversation with his son when a monitor repeatedly showed the boy felt more anxious around him. And Dr. Picard said she changed her own response to Boston traffic after an earlier version of her tracking device showed her how much she was letting other drivers get to her.

皮卡德博士说,曾与她合作过的教师们在压力监测器揭示出引发学生焦虑的诱因后,改变了他们的教学方法。一位父亲发现压力监测器多次提示只要自己在场儿子就会感到更加焦虑不安,其后就与儿子进行了一番长谈。皮卡德博士说,自从她的老版压力跟踪器表明她是多么容易受到其他司机的影响,她就改变了自己对波士顿交通的态度。

“I am a much more relaxed driver now,” she said.

“现在我是一个更轻松的司机了,”她说。

Researchers at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., are testing how to deliver useful stress reduction tips. In one monthlong study, participants were instructed to do positive activities on their phone, like going to their Facebook timeline and looking for three people, objects or events they are thankful for.

位于美国华盛顿州雷德蒙德市的微软公司的研究人员正在测试如何提供有益的减压技巧。在为期一个月的研究中,参与者被告知要利用手机做一些积极的活动,例如访问Facebook时间线,并从中寻找三个他们感激的人、物或事件等。

“Maybe what you need to do is teach people a little bit and get out of their way,” said Dr. Mary Czerwinski, who is leading that study and is a research manager at Microsoft. “And maybe after a couple of months, if their stress levels are going up, maybe pop back in and remind them of what it was.”

“也许你只需要给人们一点点的教导,剩下的就交给他们自己好了,”微软的研究经理、该研究项目的负责人玛丽·切尔文斯基(Mary Czerwinski)博士说。“也许是在一两个月后他们的压力水平再度抬头时,回去再提个醒。”

But sometimes telling a person that he or she is stressed may end up just causing more stress. Dr. Czerwinski once worked with a study volunteer who got upset when tracking devices indicated that he was stressed. “No machine can know when I’m stressed better than I know I’m stressed,” the volunteer said angrily.

但有时候,告知一个人的压力水平只会让他更有压力。在切尔文斯基博士曾经参与过的一项研究中,当跟踪设备提醒志愿者他很焦虑不安时,他的心情更糟糕了。他恼火地说道:“我比任何机器都更清楚自己压力很大!”

Some device makers are working to incorporate stress reduction into the device itself. Thync Inc. of Boston and Los Gatos, Calif., makes a headset that retails for $199 and uses nerve stimulation that claims to “recharge your mood,” provide calm, focus and energy, and promote sleep. The device creates an electrical circuit between the right temple and the back of the neck, modulating nerves on the head, face and neck, which are involved in sensory processing and mood. One level of stimulation is designed to reduce stress; a different level can reportedly stir feelings of bliss.

一些设备制造商正致力于让设备本身兼具减压功能。位于波士顿和加州洛思加图斯的Thync Inc.生产了一款耳机(零售价199美元),号称可利用神经刺激“调适你的情绪”,令你平静、专注且精力充沛以及有助于促进睡眠。该设备可在右侧太阳穴与脖子后部产生电回路,调节头部、面部及颈部参与感觉处理和情绪的神经。其中一个级别的刺激用于减轻压力,另一个不同级别的刺激据称可以激起幸福感。

The only studies showing Thync’s success have come from the company itself, which has tested the device in about 4,000 people, said Dr. Jamie Tyler, a co-founder and the chief science officer.

能证明Thync成功的所有研究都来自该公司自己。其联合创始人、首席科学官杰米·泰勒(Jamie Tyler)博士称他们已在约4000人身上测试了这种设备。

Dr. Picard and Dr. Czerwinski said they remained skeptical that any currently available device could act on the body to reduce stress. Instead, Dr. Picard said she prefers a low-tech way of responding to her own anxiety: She gets up and goes for a short walk.

皮卡德博士和切尔文斯基博士都表示,他们仍对任何现有设备可作用于人体,并切实减轻压力持怀疑态度。皮卡德博士倒觉得应对焦虑问题,自己更倾向于使用低技术含量的方式:起身去散散步。

“It’s not only less expensive” than any device, she said, “but it’s probably better for my whole body, not just my brain.”

“这样不仅是比任何设备都更便宜”,她说,“而且很可能对我的头脑乃至整个身体都更有益。”

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