DO I REALLY NEED... A STRESS MONITOR?
THIS week: PIP (thepip.com, £145) THIS device has a sensor to detect electrical changes in the skin that indicate stress.
It is connected to an app on a mobile: if it detects stress, the app instructs you to play games — you only move up to the next level of the game if the device senses you have relaxed.
This technique, which is known as biofeedback, teaches better control of biological functions.
EXPERT VERDICT: ‘I suspect PIP detects skin responses similar to those measured in lie detectors,’ says Sir Cary Cooper, a professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School. These changes occur for a number of reasons, including feeling under pressure, a healthy reaction that makes us work harder. But if this pressure becomes excessive then it’s known as stress, which can seriously affect health. ‘Stress and pressure will be picked up by PIP as they trigger similar electrical changes in the skin,’ says Sir Cary.
‘I’d be more concerned about what is causing stress and this device would not help address this. It’s more important to identify what is making you unable to cope rather than just simply trying to relax. ‘Biofeedback only works while you’re looking at the screen and trying to improve.’