Measuring and quantifying human emotions is getting closer to reality as researchers in South Korea have developed a flexible detector which is able to measure goose bumps.
The tiny sensor can tell when the hairs on the back of your arm stand-up.
In the future, if we are able to record and understand a physical and emotional response to a stimulus, this can help to determine our experiences of music, games and everything we do.
In turn we would be able to measure the times of the day where our emotions change the most.
The sensor, which includes components that are just 1.2 micrometers thick, works in a very simple way as it detects goose bumps, or piloerection, by the deformation of sensor.
It was placed on the arm of a person then was able to detect the change in the skin’s state when a person grabbed some ice cubes.
The researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) are still some distance away from the sensors being able to detect emotions but the research shows the potential exists to detect changes in our body that are caused by our surroundings.
The researchers think that we may one day treat our emotions like any other bimometric information that can be collected and analysed.
“We found that the height of the goose bump and the piloerection duration can be deduced by analysing obtained capacitance change trace,” explained Young-Ho Cho.
“In the future, human emotions will be regarded like any typical biometric information, including body temperature or blood pressure,” Cho said.
The scientists now hope to make the signal processing module and capacitance measurement system smaller so that it can be put on the skin with the sensor.
The team of researchers at KAIST in South Korea built the 20mm x 20mm sensor using a conductive polymer called PEDOT:PSS for the capacitors. It is flexible compared to brittle metallic conductive materials.
The small capacitors were then embedded in a silicon substrate.
It isn’t the first piece of flexible wearable technology that KAIST scientists have been looking at.
Others at the organisation have made a tiny generator which is able to gather body heat and in future will be able to power wearable devices.
Featured image courtesy of MaryLane via Flickr/Creative Commons Licence
Images two and three courtesy of KAIST