A South Korean research team has developed a sensor capable of measuring goose bumps on the human body in real time.
The sensor uses a stick-on transparent conductive polymer to quantify how big the bumps are and how long they last.
It works by recording a drop in the sensor’s capacitance – its ability to store an electrical charge – caused by it being deformed by the buckling of the skin’s surface.
The sensor uses a stick-on transparent conductive polymer to quantify how big the goose bumps are and how long they last (photo Wikipedia)
The engineers say it could be used to study changes in people’s emotions.
The work was carried out at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and details have been published in the Applied Physics Letters journal.
The article explains that the thin, flexible, square sensor, whose sides are about 0.8in long, was tested on the arm of a subject who was asked to grab ice cubes to induce the reaction.
Although, by its nature, this involved a response to physical stimuli, the researchers noted that other scientists had previously shown that goose bumps could be used to deduce changes in a subject’s emotional state brought on by music, movies and other causes.
“In the future, human emotions will be regarded like any typical biometric information, including body temperature or blood pressure,” Prof. Young Ho-cho told the journal.
Although more work needs to be done to correlate the measurements with specific emotional states, and only certain strong reactions might result in goose bumps, the journal still suggested the technology could ultimately be used to create kit to personalize adverts, music and other services based on the user’s reactions.