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Biofeedback anti-stress pen: a great idea that's not so great at reducing stress


We've all known for quite some time that the pen is mightier than the sword, and now science has given us a pen that is mightier (sort of) than the stress of that TPS report your boss needs right now. A student at Delft University in The Netherlands will receive his PhD this week for research that led him to create just such a pen. Based upon the obvious premise that people play with their writing utensils when anxious, the pen uses motion sensors instead of more conventional means of stress detection. When the pen detects stressful movements, internal electromagnets provide corresponding counter-motion feedback to stop your nervous tics. During experiments, the pen did diminish test subjects' heart rates around five percent, but according to feedback none of them actually "felt" less stressed. The pen isn't yet commercially available, and given its dubious value as an actual stress reliever, we would look to more satisfying methods to aid the relaxation process.

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