Wearable Alien Pet Trains You to Recognize Your Emotions

Do you ever find yourself suddenly tense without knowing how you got that way? It would be great if there were some indication that you were getting stressed before it got to the point of physical discomfort. Ref, the little critter above that looks alarmingly like a face hugger from Alien, is a wearable “pet” that lets you know when your stress levels are rising.

Call it a mood pet for the information age: Ref gets feedback about your mood and mental and physical state from an ear clip that you wear. Based on your heart rate variance, Ref can tell when your mood is changing and will physically react to how you feel. It lifts its head, curls its tail, and moves its wings to give you a visual reminder that your mood is running away with you.

Jens Dyvik is the pet’s inventor; he says that Ref would be used to train people to recognize their emotions. As a visual and tactile clue to your physical state, a gadget like this could be invaluable – particularly for those people who seem completely out of touch with their feelings. At the moment Ref has to stay tethered to a huge “brain,” but Dyvik says that future generations of the pet will be wireless and totally portable.

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See more in Cybernetics or under Technology. November, 2010.
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