A new Dutch electronic device called the EmoBracelet may be just what stressed midlifers need. Philips Electronics and ABN AMRO have unveiled a gadget that tells you when it’s time to take a break. Initially aimed at home based online investment traders, whose behaviour tends to be influenced by emotions such as fear and greed rather than fact and logic, the prototype is part of a wider attempt by Philips to help people cope with stress. The company are aiming to eventually use the technology in a range of other products.
The EmoBracelet senses the wearer’s stress levels and makes an accompanying lighted bowl, the EmoBowl, change colour and flicker from yellow to red as emotions intensify, telling the user to ease up and reconsider his or her actions.
We all know that excessive stress can be harmful for us, and I can see how the EmoBracelet may be usefully applied. Road rage could become a thing of the past for example. The device would be great whilst queueing at the Post Office. Or when dealing with grumpy children at home. I’d wear one whilst dealing with HMRC on the phone maybe or when trying to arrange an appointment to see my GP. I’d quite like to have one if I had a serious health problem and was likely to drop down dead at any moment from a heart attack.
On the downside though, I’m really not sure about the name of this thing. EmoBracelet and EmoBowl immediately make me think of angst ridden teenagers. Also, the distinct possibility of huge numbers of the UK population wearing an EmoBracelet as a result of mass marketing horrifies me. Witnessing someone else’s emotions flickering to red whilst standing next to them on a packed train, say, would be frankly worrying, not to mention embarrassing.
Normal stress in normal everyday situations is exactly that – NORMAL. Emotion is what actually keeps me on my toes; I function best when under some pressure. And I’d be really rather loathe to rob my husband of the opportunity to say “Calm down dearest”. Thinking about it, I don’t always wear an outfit with a handy pocket to accommodate the crazy flashing bowl either. So I’d have to say “No, this is not for me. I’m out”.