Cognitive watch

Imagine. You have a nifty little gadget on your wrist.

It reads your temperature, blood pressure, sweat, electro-something, can listen carefully and recognize your voice, it is aware of your surroundings…

That's the amount of data a Garmin sport tracker gets from 1 run.
That’s the amount of data a Garmin sport tracker gets from 1 run.

— Looks like a perfect medical personal assistant?
— No, that’s exactly what a lie detector is.

Such device can not only tell that you are lying, but also a vast array of your emotions from pain and fear to anger or joy.

And it does all of this even before recording what you are saying and putting it into context (which it could also totally do!)

And where do we go from here?


For example we can make reminders when we are not aware of ourselves. Getting angry and quarreling too intensely? Fighting with our loved ones?

Buzz on the wrist and a message: “Hey man, chill out. May be it’s time to step back?”

Alas, anybody can quickly adapt and snooze it like an annoying alarm clock on a hangover.

May be we can train ourselves like Pavlov his dogs! Give positive and negative feedback on our feelings. Do you want your anger to burn your hands for real? Or is it too much?

Of course there could be tons of useful and less bizarre implementations. Safe driving, mood playlists or even chat status change if you are that open to your close ones or anyone. You can trigger different events with your feelings and emotions:

  • Get that really annoying task done when you are exactly in the mood.
  • Measure how you react to music and form life changing soundtracks.
  • When you are hurting someone or yourself, you can be reminded or distracted. For example by a call or music.
  • If you are an addict and something stressful going on let your sponsor/partner know.
  • Or even change your news feed or facebook feed according to your mood, or shape your mood with it
  • Find out how your friends make you feel when you are reading them online or even in real life.
  • Let your wife/husband know if you are coming back home in a bad mood, without telling.
  • Even set alarms on emotions of your loved ones, be happy when they are, wherever you are.
  • Cope with your fears and anxieties.

With such device we can send our emotions and feelings into the machine, and machines can study us in their turn.

I wonder if that would work and we really can change our behavior faster and better with a help of some technology, become a better versions of ourselves. Through measurement, control and feedback. Give a powerful cognitive behavior therapy tool to everyone and make it useful.

Cognitive therapy is based on the cognitive model, which states that thoughts, feelings and behavior are all connected, and that individuals can move toward overcoming difficulties and meeting their goals by identifying and changing unhelpful or inaccurate thinking, problematic behavior, and distressing emotional responses.

Source: Wikipedia / Judith S. Beck

Right now wearable devices are already tested for cognitive therapy among drug addicts. Here, take a look.

And I’m pretty sure that’s just a tip of an iceberg. And Google together with Apple are aware of this.

You can make 2 stories out of this.

Sweet utopia in the style of Her movie. All websites and services would know and recognize you as a human being. You can use your feelings and emotions to communicate with them. And they will grow and learn how to be more like humans.

Or a painful dystopia, like that Black mirror episode with an eye gadget that could record everything you see. Such technology will be exploited. And not only to make more money on you, but also by strangers and friends. “Why are you not sharing your emotional status with me? What’s wrong?!”

And as we tell ourselves these stories we are shaping our future and it will be everything at once.

  • Nikita Ananevich

    Yeah… this is pretty cool. Such device would have to be controversial, though. And I imagine it’s a risky investment, too. Maybe there should be at least three versions of it, say – Therapeutic, for chronics, Entertaining – for mood control, and the Regular – that has both, but is less “radical”. Or maybe it should be the same device with different presets. But that would make it harder to use for most folks. maybe I’d buy this 4-th “sophisticated” option, and play with presets and what not. But the price should really not be above 100-200 bucks. Also, I think there should not be any increase in price for the brand.
    I use ATI graphic cards in my PC, I use cell phone with buttons and a big battery, that costs like a cheap smartphone, but works better. and I have a separate GPS device that costs about the same amount and is hard to break, is resistant to rain and you can fix it to the handlebar on a bike… these are pretty useful, you can use them for 5 to 10 years if treated properly… they cost about 150 dollars each. the only drawback in both of the devices is the interface.
    If you give me all the good things in this device – durability, reliability AND smart GUI (preferably without the need to upload patches from the net every day or every week) and make at least one of the functions described in the article work like a clock :) and it’d cost me the abovementioned amount – I’d buy such device.
    OR you can just make another vanity item out of it – nifty, pretty looking, glittering piece. And I mean not of gold. :) With a pear-shaped brand on it and aggressive PR campaign.

    • You are definitely not in the target group then. :)

      And of course all features are a matter of presets and software. The secret is when there will be enough sensors on a wearable to take it to a new level and make it sense your emotions. And what comes after that.

    • Anthony Moskalenko

      Yes, Emvio is really very similar and promising product. But it doesn’t measure skin temperature so far.

      • The point with Emvio is that it’s too niche.
        We need a mainstream product like apple/google watch with lots of sensors.

        And when amount of sensors will be enough – software will do the rest.

        Even now android wear watches may measure stress by using heart rate sensors they have and a gyroscope.

        My point is when we start using emotions to upgrade our experience with the machines.