Anxiety is not considered a single emotion rather a combination of emotions such as fear, uncertainty, distress, apprehension, dread and worry (Harrigan, Wilson, & Rosenthal, 2004). All these emotions are manifested from a multitude of visual and non-visual symptoms.
The knowledge of these symptoms is well documented however understanding these symptoms through sensors such as accelerometers is relatively nascent. This project aims is to provide a clearer understanding of high heart rate and shaking, two symptoms associated with anxiety, through the use of an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and heart rate sensor.
The research underpinning this initiative will draw upon literature on stress and anxiety; studies of human movement and applications of motion sensors. Secondly, the project will move into design prototyping by fine-tuning existing IMU’s and heart rate sensors to develop wearable tools that will complement the body, as well as create data visualisation software to aid in the observation of these symptoms. Finally, the tool will be demonstrated and assessed by physiotherapists and occupational therapists (OT) working in major public hospitals to provide further context and significance to this tool.
The intended outcome of this project is to develop a tool that can be used in controlled clinical settings, at a postgraduate level, related to anxiety, respiratory or gait analysis. This tool could also be further advanced for use in hospitals or other areas of healthcare such as triage, occupational therapy or physiotherapy that may use this tool to help diagnose symptoms of anxiety and support their decision-making and clinical reasoning process.