Microsoft wants to improve the wellbeing of workers who many not be taking the best care of themselves, putting their work before wellness. In a new Microsoft patent published this month, the company talks about an “Emotion Detection From Contextual Signals For Surfacing Wellness Insights” feature it is developing.

As originally reported by ComputerWorld, the patent helps workers monitor their stress and anxiety levels. Anyone in the workplace will be familiar with pressure and stress that can sometimes come from nowhere.

While Microsoft does not describe hardware, the Emotion Detection feature would likely work within the context of a device. Maybe a smartphone, but more likely a smartwatch, fitness band, or other wearable.

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This device would monitor blood pressure and heart rates during work hours and provide an anxiety score and a “wellness recommendation”.

Microsoft describes some of the recommendations the app will make in the patent:

  • “Your voice sounded agitated in your last meeting.”
  • “Your email traffic spikes at 9:00 am. Try to eat breakfast before you start responding.”
  • “Consider talking to colleague@company.com–a fresh perspective may help.”

Adding Accuracy

Microsoft doesn’t currently have a fitness or smartwatch device, so it’s likely this is an app that will work with third-party hardware. It’s worth noting many fitness tracking devices and apps already have heart-rate tracking and stress monitoring.

Admittedly, none of them do a good job of really understanding if you are stressed or not. We hope Microsoft’s tool will be better and provide more accurate insight into anxiety spikes and how to manage them.

As is always the case with a Microsoft patent, there are no guarantees this feature will ever be released. Microsoft could simply be covering its tech bases of decide there is no market for the tool. Either way, if this does get a release, we’ll keep you updated.

Tip of the day:

Did you know that as a Windows 10 admin you can restrict user accounts by disabling settings or the control panel? Our tutorial shows how to disable and enable them via Group Policy and the registry.

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