A pen that can detect short term stress in its user and further alleviate some of the stress has been designed by Industrial Design PhD student Miguel Bruns Alonso from the Netherlands' Delft University of Technology. This pen also helps in reducing the heart rate of the user. During the study it was observed that when tensed people tend to play with their pens, therefore this 'anti-stress pen' detects when the user fidgets with it and stops him from doing so. Faster, jerkier movements associated with stress are detected by the motion sensors in the pen. At this point the internal electromagnets create counterweight effects which make the pen difficult to move, thus encouraging the user to slow down the movements.
During the research, Bruns found that those who were receiving feedback on their stress levels had a heart rate roughly 5% slower than those who received no feedback. Still, those with lower heart rates did not claim to feel any less stress.
Alonso said, "The conclusion to be drawn from this is that products which seek to reduce short-term stress should, preferably, intervene directly to modify that behavior, rather than warning the user about their stress levels, for instance. This could allow products to reduce stress in an unobtrusive way." At present this pen is a prototype and not yet available for purchase.