Diseases that are caused or aggravated by stress are common in the Western world and lead to high costs for our health care system. Therefore, stress management skills should be practiced more and be used in the everyday life. Relaxation techniques can be especially helpful for this, but they are often – due to a lack of motivation – not performed on a regular basis.

Goals and procedure

The project NOSTRESS aims at developing a combination of different technologies that especially facilitate the use of the relaxation technique ‘Imagination’ in the everyday life. To achieve this, mobile and multimodal VR technologies are combined with automated, harmonized sound generation in immersive 3D sound as well as with a massaging technique that is synchronized with the virtual world. By means of a sensor technology, which is worn close to the body and was developed in-house, physiologically measurable stress indicators (pulse, breathing, skin conductance, blood pressure) can be gathered to alter the training individually. The utility of the components as well as the effectiveness of the overall system are validated in two studies.

Innovations and prospects In the project, VR technology, smart wearables and empathic computing are connected and used in a practical way. The overall system offers a tool to the users, which enables them to learn stress management individually. During the development process, we are mindful of a balanced cost-benefit ratio to ensure that the finished technology will be broadly applicable.