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A participatory workshop on Heart Activity data collection for Stress Detection

The participatory workshop 'Heart Activity data collection' was hosted by Catalink LTD on the 10th and 11th of April 2024. The workshop was held in a cafeteria next to the University of Cyprus and brought together students and other visitors.


The main goal of our workshop was to create a dataset with annotated ECG readings. The labels of the annotation indicate whether the users were stressed or not during a certain series of tasks that they were engaged in. The acquired feedback is critical for real-time stress detection.


Pictures credits: Catalink LTD - MuseIT "Heart Activity data collection" Participatory Workshop, 11/04/224.


One of the main challenges of the MuseIT project is the co-design and development of multisensory representations and rendering of cultural assets. Wearable sensors have emerged as a powerful tool to facilitate stress estimation, providing insights into human emotions and reactions. In addition, in our project, CTL’s Stress Estimation Algorithm (SEA) is a core component of music co-creation service to enhance the overall user experience. Extending its use to scenarios where a user engages with cultural assets, either in the real world or in a VR experience, helps to shape personalized experiences.


The objective of our workshop was to collect heart activity data from participants, in response to induced stress throughout an experiment. The experiment began with a baseline session where an Electrocardiogram (ECG)  was recorded for the participants, as they watched a neutral video of a city tour. This initial session aims in establishing a baseline signal that is used as a user-based normalization to improve the stress estimation procedure. Following this, users underwent a series of five different timed tests, including Logical Reasoning, Reaction, and Arithmetic Tests. At the end of each test,  participants rated their stress levels on a scale of 1 to 5, enabling us to appropriately label each data segment. Between the tests, there was a short recovery period. The whole experiment for each participant lasted approximately 30 minutes. 


The ECG signals were captured using a Polar H10 chest strap, one of the most accurate heart rate sensors currently available. Ultimately, we aim to utilize this obtained data in order to improve and fine-tune SEA.


All the participants had to sign a detailed consent form before participating in the workshop. The consent form ensured that the participants were informed about the experiment, their voluntary role in the study, and how their data would be used while maintaining confidentiality and privacy standards. Finally, during the workshop, MuseIT flyers were distributed to participants and visitors to raise awareness, and we encouraged them to sign up for our newsletter!

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