Mapping Melbourne's anxiety

Wearable technology was deployed across Melbourne to create an interactive 'stress map' of the city

Accurate information is crucial to planners and policy makers. Access to reliable real-time data allows them to better understand the challenges facing them, and in turn, create targeted strategies and better outcomes.

For this project, wearable ‘stress pendants’ were designed, built and deployed among 40 participants during Melbourne Knowledge Week 2016. The pendants could be worn around the neck, kept in a pocket, pinned to clothing or attached to a belt or keyring. Participants squeezed the pendants when they felt stressed. The pendant responded with a gentle purr, to acknowledge the participant’s stress. Each squeeze was recorded by an app, which collected a range of associated data based on location and time. Information was collated in a cloud database and used to develop a real time, interactive ‘stress map’ of the city.

The project formed part of SensiLab’s ‘Quantified Self’ exhibition, which aimed to provoke questions and stimulate ideas about the role of technology in determining and liberating human behaviour. During the exhibition visitors could see live stress points and individual stress events as they happened across the city.

Wearable technologies present a range of possibilities for mapping and gathering detailed information about different communities and their behaviours. We are currently developing new versions of this technology for use in longer term studies.

The Stress Pendant was initially developed for Melbourne Knowledge Week 2016
Stress Pedants could be worn around the neck, kept in a pocket or attached to clothing

Project members

Jon McCormack
Elliott Wilson
Dilpreet Singh
Matthew Kairys