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The current benchmark for measuring stress in the intensive care unit (ICU) is the perceived stress questionnaire (PSQ). Validated by a large population of in-patients, the PSQ is a self-reported questionnaire used in clinical and laboratory settings for assessing stressful circumstances that typically exacerbate disease symptoms. However, clinicians and nurses operating in the ICU could benefit from a more efficient system for measuring the stress of admitted patients. Monitoring physiological markers for the degree of stress can aid clinicians in providing accurate and effective treatment methods to benefit the health condition and alleviate the stress of the patient. The proposed wearable device measures galvanic skin response (GSR) and heart rate (HR) in real time, which are input to a machine-learning algorithm that models patient stress as a latent variable to be predicted. Upon securing the device to the patient, the microprocessor transmits the acquired GSR and HR signal data to an external device for analysis and interpretation. The device is unique in its ability to discriminate false positive stress obtained exclusively from HR by integrating GSR into the stress metric. Comparison matrices were used to evaluate the merits of several conceptual designs. From this analysis, a ring that measures GSR via electrode and HR via optical techniques was selected. For the fall semester of 2020, the scope of prototyping will include (1) creating a functional Arduino-based circuit with integrated GSR and HR sensors capable of detecting the two aforementioned biosignals from the finger of a subject; (2) conducting research to establish a theoretical basis for the machine-learning algorithm design; (3) and completing software design documentation, including IEEE Std 830-1998 and 1016-2009, which shall serve as references in the spring semester of 2021 during implementation.

Symposium Date

Fall 12-1-2012


wearable technology, stress measurement, ICU


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Stress Measurement Wearable Device Optimized for use in the Clinical ICU