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ICT-ISPC.2017.8075319

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iCare-Stress: Caring System for Stress
Jarernsri Mitrpanont, Jaruwan Phandhu-fung, Nantanut Klubdee, Supanat Ratanalaor, Prasert Pratiphakorn,
Kiddathikarn Damrongvanakul, Piyawat Chuanvaree, and Teeranan Mitrpanont
Faculty of Information and Communication Technology, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
jarernsri.mit@mahidol.ac.th,{jaruwan.pha, nantanut.klu, supanant.rat}@student.mahidol.ac.th
Abstract—The human life becomes increasingly stressful and
not everyone can manage his/her own life well. Most people are
not aware of stress even though stress is a common illness that
impacts on daily life, including family, relationships, and studying. Moreover, stress affects health, both physically and mentally
at all ages. When people suffer from stress repeatedly, stress will
turn to be multiple physical conditions and psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. iCare-stress application was
created to assist a person to know his/her own state of stress and
handle properly using the user's brainwave detected by Emotiv
device. In addition, the application provides an interesting technique called Neurofeedback which is used to train human brain
activity. Neurofeedback is widely accepted in medicinal studies to
reduce the symptoms of many diseases. Therefore, it is chosen to
be the technique to manage and reduce stress in the application.
Moreover, there are three interventions for doing the different
activities such as Concentration, Relaxation, and Music Therapy.
In the case of measuring stress without the device, the application
provides a set of questionnaire which is called General Health
Questionnaire or GHQ that a user can apply to check his/her
stress level. The result from both doing interventions and GHQ
are shown in the form of human language that anyone can understand.
Keywords—Stress; Anxiety; Depression; Mobile Application for
Stress; Brainwave; Emotiv; Reduce Stress; Stressful; Neurofeedback; Intervention
I. INTRODUCTION
Stress is a common illness with about 350 million people
affected [1]. Suffering continuously can lead to other severe
illness such as anxiety and depression. In the term of the medical field, it is considerably important to treat any diseases in
the early state. With highly considering of this illness combining with the advances continuously technology to improve
human life, this application uses Emotiv device [6] to detect
the brainwave in order to calculate the stress level and also use
the value in the intervention process. The aim of this research
project is to study, analyze and design a software that can help
people who have stress. Therefore, “iCare-stress” was created
to detect stress, anxiety, and depression with timely in the
treatment. The application provides the method called “Neurofeedback”[8] which can manage and reduce stress consisted of
three different intervention processes: concentration intervention, relaxation intervention, and music therapy intervention.
Users can realize their stress level, handle them properly, and
follow up the result which can help both individual and doctors in reducing time and workload.
II. BACKGROUND AND RELATED WORK
A. Stress
Stress is a state of emotion or feelings that arise when
faced with various problems which make you feel uncomfortable. It is a symptom that causes the brain not to relax. While
the human brain begins to produce substance which causes
stress, the human brain will response to this stress by expression in brain wave patterns. All human beings have stress.
This stress is a major problem and also leads to physical harm
or many diseases such as Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and mild to moderate brain damage [2].
B. Brain waves
According to the research, Alois Schlögl et al.[3] stated
that psychiatrist explained the term of EEG. EEG stands for
Electroencephalography which is used for recording brainwaves. There are neurons in the human brain which can emit
the electrical signal of human thought, emotions, and behavior. Brainwaves are divided into five bandwidths to describe
their functions of brainwave. This application focus on stress
and concentration which are Beta [4] and Alpha [5]. The Beta
brainwave occurs when people are alert, focus, attention, excitement, and stress while Alpha brainwave occurs when people decrease focus, calmness, daydreaming, and relaxation. In
addition, Beta brainwave is separated into High Beta and Low
Beta brainwave. High Beta (18-40 Hz) is a high range beta
which associated with anxiety, paranoia, high energy, arousal,
excitement, and significant stress. Low Beta (12-15 Hz) is a
lower range of beta which often associated with quiet, concentration, and focus.
C. Emotiv device
Emotiv Device [6] is a Brain Computer Interface (BCI)
equipment products which use to access brainwave values that
are detected through the sensors placed on the human scalp.
Fig. 1. The Emotiv Insight Device
This research paper was partially supported by the Faculty of Information and
Communication Technology, Mahidol University.
978-1-5090-6255-3/17/$31.00 ©2017 IEEE
A. General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)
General Health Questionnaire [7] is a set of questionnaire
which contains 30 questions using for measuring the state of
stress. It is the method of psychiatrist who is a mental health
specialists to detect the stress of the patients
B. Neurofeedback
The Neurofeedback is also known as EEG Biofeedback.
Neurofeedback is the way to train the human brainwaves and
provides information to the brain from the graphical type such
as software game. It is a modern method which can manage
and reduce stress. It trains the human brain by using Electrochemical processes in the brain and sends EEG signals to the
human’s cortex [8]. The feedback might be in a games, movies
or anything visual or auditory. It provides the brain to learn
and improve brain activity by increasing the desired brainwaves and inhibit undesired brainwaves according to information of waves which is presented in the form of application or
exercise. When the treatment is done repeatedly along with the
evaluation of the results, the result will show good changes.
This method is a form of training that is extremely effective
and also harmless way to use [9]. Moreover, using Neurofeedback is widely accepted in medicinal studies to reduce the
symptoms of many diseases such as ADHD, Learning disabilities, Seizure, Depression, and Anxiety.
5) Observation Data Report - Observation data report consists of two main parts. During a user uses each activity function, the history data report is recorded and demonstrated as
the result such as detecting stress by GHQ, detecting stress in
real time, and doing the interventions. The application will
keep the activities log of users, so the system will use these
activities log and display in monthly, weekly, and daily basis.
In addition, weekly report can display each activity graph in
each day. Another report is statistical report which demonstrates the user’s information, the amount of times that user
did the activities, and the summary percentage of each activity.
III. SYSTEM DESIGN
iCare-stress has a main actor who is the user that access
the application by connecting to the Android device with Internet connection. The application requires the user to register
as a member by fill in their information and log-in to use the
application. The application consists of five main parts, as
described below:
1) Device - Device records the brainwaves (Emotiv Insight), and the mobile phone which is necessary to install our
application.
2) Detect stress - There are two major parts which are detecting stress from brainwaves by using device, and detecting
through using a set of questionnaires (GHQ-30) [7]. Detecting
stress from brainwaves is a method to find the stress and illustrate result in percentage, categories into stress level, and motion picture. Moreover, detecting through using a set of question is other way to detecting stress without Emotiv.
3) Intervention – The application provides three intervention solutions consisting of 1) concentration, 2) relaxation and
3) music therapy. Concentration is an implicit way to reduce
stress because it is a training method which is controlled by
user’s mind. If the user can control their mind, stress would be
in a control. Relaxation is using deep breathing technique [10]
because it is the simplest way and also efficient for the users
to reduce stress. Moreover, it can help people to feel consciousness and stay in a calm state. Music therapy is a solution
that provides many types of music to users for reducing stress
and feeling relief. Moreover, intervention page finds the stress
and demonstrates in real time graph.
4) Result - Result comparing displays two graphs between
before and after doing the intervention. The first graph compares stress in each second. The second graph compares the
average of stress in two minutes time.
Fig. 2. iCare-stress System Architecture
IV. USER INTERFACE
These are the example pages of iCare-stress user interface
which provides user with ease of use. There are log in, detect
stress, intervention, instruction for each intervention, result of
intervention, GHQ, and follow up part. All the elements in this
application are designed relating to each feature.
Fig. 3 shows some examples of the interface of our application. It requires the user to log-in. Then, the user can detect
stress by connecting application with Emotiv device.
Fig. 3 Show Examples of the Log in and Detect Stress Pages.
The application will determine the average of stress value and
the level of stress to the user in two minutes time. After detecting stress, the user can select one of three interventions of
concentration, relaxation, or music therapy as shown in Fig.4.
Fig. 4 Show Examples of the Stress Value and Intervention pages
Before doing each intervention, there are instruction pages to
suggest the user to follow step-by-step. The example of intervention process using concentration training is shown in Fig.5.
The user has to focus on the object in two minutes. If the user
has good concentration, the sun becomes smaller. Furthermore, there are a timer at the top left and real time graph at the
top right of the screen.
Fig. 5 Show the Instruction and Concentration pages.
Moreover, the system also provides the result before and after
applying an intervention as graph and summary. The graph
shows the comparison between the first detection and after
applying the intervention, then summary the result in the percentage form of decreasing stress or increasing stress. In contrast, if the user want to detect stress level without using Emotiv device, the application provides the instruction of doing the
General Health Questionnaire instead.
V. IMPLEMENTATION
A. List of software tools
• Android 4.4 or higher: Android system requirements
on Emotiv Insight.
• API 21: Android 5.0
• Lollipop: Application requirement.
• Bluetooth low energy (Bluetooth 4.0): Connecting
with Emotiv device.
• Emotiv Insight: Tracking brain activities.
• SQLITE: Developing database on Android version.
• Library: Emotiv Library [bedk.jar]
• Adobe Photoshop, Just In mind, and free source
websites: for designing interface and making icons in
the application.
B. Algorithm
These are some example of the important algorithms
using in the application developed by Java programming language.
• Detect stress in male
private void male_settingUP()
{
ComputationRange male = new ComputationRange();
//these values from excel[final concentration=>Summary
Concentration]
male.setAF3(0.399770537f,14.04597633f);
male.setAF4(0.435949603f, 14.72165015f);
male.setWeightAF3(50f);
male.setWeightAF4(50f);
male.setDistanceAF3(n);
male.setDistanceAF4(n);
male.setDistanceWeightAF3(n);
male.setDistanceWeightAF4(n);
mycon = male;
}
• Detect stress in female
private void female_settingUP()
{
ComputationRange female = new ComputationRange();
//these values from excel[final
concentration=>Summary Concentration]
female.setAF3(0.776022f, 15f);
female.setAF4(0.455559f, 13f);
female.setWeightAF3(50f);
female.setWeightAF4(50f);
female.setDistanceAF3(n);
female.setDistanceAF4(n);
female.setDistanceWeightAF3(n);
female.setDistanceWeightAF4(n);
mycon = female;
}
VI. EVALUATION AND RESULT
The evaluation of iCare-stress aims to measure the
level of stress before doing an intervention and after doing an
intervention, whether the level of stress is decreased or not.
Details of the evaluation method and evaluation results are
described below:
• Introduce the objective, process, and basic information for
users to understand the overview of this application.
• Let the users used the application by following the instruction step-by-step.
• Show result before and after doing intervention to users.
better than concentration but relaxation was the best for reducing stress.
VII. CONCLUSION
To sum up, iCare-stress application is very useful
application for helping people to handle own stress by using
the most effective technique called “Neurofeedback” that provides the suitable solution for treating in the right direction
and matching with each person. Because stress is not the disease that can be treated and get well in one time, continuously
follow up the result and apply the intervention are the important part to make the application fully success. However, more
tests must be done to verify the sensitivity of each method to
each gender type. For the future work, the application will be
extended to cover the severe illness like anxiety and depression, especially depression which is in the first range cause of
people commit suicide in the world [11]. With Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT [12], the most well-known efficient
and evidence based therapy which has been done by psychiatrists and psychologists around the world, this research work
will further develop the new features with the highly expectation that can help people as much as possible.
REFERENCES
1.
Table 1. Test results
Origina
l value
(%)
GH
Q
valu
e
(%)
Concentrati
on method
(%)
Relaxatio
n method
(%)
Music
Therapy
method
(%)
Male
22
22
12
9
11
21
Male
24.61
33
28.51
11
11.5
21
Male
15
11
10
11
9
22
Male
16
22
10
13
15
Participants
’
age
Gend
er
22
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
21
Femal
e
40
33
27
16
20.46
23
Femal
e
7
11
5
8
5
22
Femal
e
17.49
22
23.18
15.87
16
21
Femal
e
32
34
22
18
21
Table 1 shows the percentage of stress which contains original, GHQ, concentration intervention, relaxation
intervention, and music therapy intervention. There are 8
testers which are 4 males and 4 females as the preliminary test
of the system. As a result, we found that each tester may sensitive to different intervention method and music therapy was
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
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