Doctoral student Miguel Bruns Alonso from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands found that people tend to play with their pens when they are tense. "That is why I have developed a pen which can detect 'nervous' movements and determine whether the user is stressed," he said, according to a Delft statement.
"When it detects the quicker movements associated with stress, the pen gradually becomes more difficult to move around. This encourages users to move in a more relaxed way, which in turn makes the pen yield more easily again," Alonso said.
"Sensors in a pen could provide an unobtrusive way of measuring stress levels. Giving users the right feedback could then help them deal with their stress in a constructive way," he added.
When the pen was evaluated in an experiment, people who received feedback on their behaviour had a lower heart rate (around five percent lower) than those who received no feedback. They experienced less psychological stress.