Hitachi’s new wearable sensor measures happiness at work and links it with efficiency

After the tangible data such as steps taken, calories burnt and heart rate, the wearable tech is now eyeing intangible assets such as happiness. Hitachi High-Tech has developed a new wearable sensor that measures the collective happiness and activity level of employees at work and thus, helpsthe management to fix the pain points as well as increase the overall productivity. And yes, this also makes the mood-monitoring wearables look passé. The wearable sensor will gather and analyze the collective data on human behavior and predict the organization activity level.

Hitachi’s new wearable sensor

Based on Hitachi’s predictive model that tracks the physical movement and the distinctiveness in the movements of different people, it will tell if your employees are happy at work or not. The physical movements may include talking to the peers, working at the laptop, standing at the work station or just fiddling around for unusual times.  However, it is still not clear what kind of movements will be actually qualified enough to be taken into the account. For instance, I prefer to keep working and not talking to keep my focus and interest intact.  Have no clue if it will bring down my happiness quotient or not.

Hitachi plans to market its wearable sensor as the new-age management support tool, which will help the management to evaluate the work policies and reconsider the plans to make their employees feel happier and hence, increase the productivity. Since happiness is a very subjective topic, the tech will take data from every person in the group and track individual movement. Subsequently, the data will be averaged out to calculate the organization’s result.

The data will be stored in the Human Big Data, the cloud services, the Japanese Company is already offering to its clients.  The data can be pulled out on an excel sheet or similar work app to analyze the pattern and confirm it by the user himself in the real time.  The data is also transferable and can be stored on a flash drive too. The data is analyzed as per the metrics developed by the National Institute of Mental Health.  If people are happier, the data will result in the long curve as Mt. Fuji whereas unhappiness at work will be displayed by a flat curve.


For testing that whether the wearable sensor can actually quantify something as intangible and subjective as happiness, the company made an outbound call center consisting 215 employees wear it for 29 days. As expected, the results showed that when the happiness level was more than the average score, the employees were at least 34% more productive than the usual.

There is no information made available regarding the real name of the wearable sensor. As far as we know, it will be a badge shaped sensor named Business Microscope and will use three sensors namely a three-axis MEMS, acceleration sensor. The six IRDA trans-receivers are based on different angles and detect face-to-face interactions.The battery lasts about 24 hours between charges. The badge can be charged via the charging dock. It is lightweight as the corporate badge or ID we usually see on the employees.

Initially, it is expected to be available only in Japan.

Until now, the companies have been using surveys and questionnaires to understand employee satisfaction and happiness. And often, employees don’t take such reports seriously or fake the responses.  With this new wearable that looks to quantify happiness, it can sell like a hot cake and become a favorite with organizations that take pride in keeping their employee happy.

Via Hitachi

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