Microsoft has patented a tool to read employee biometrics and combat anxiety

Microsoft Logo at Ignite
Microsoft Logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft filed a patent for a "computer-implemented method" for giving wellness advice.
  • The patent involves analyzing biometrics to sense stress and anxiety.
  • When stress and anxiety are detected, wellness recommendations are given.

It appears Microsoft is worried that workers aren't properly taking care of themselves, hence why the company is planning to do it for them. As seen in a patent published on April 22, Microsoft has an "Emotion Detection From Contextual Signals For Surfacing Wellness Insights" feature in the works (via Computerworld).

Ever notice your stress or anxiety levels spiking when sending an email? That's the type of thing the patent covers. A device of some sort (perhaps a smartwatch) will see your increased blood pressure or heart rate at the time of performing a work activity and provide you with an anxiety score, potentially accompanied by a "wellness recommendation."

The wellness insights and recommendation statements cited in the patent as examples of the technology at work include the following quotes:

  • "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."

That's the long and short of it. If you're the type of employee who doesn't know what tone they're giving off, forgets to eat breakfast, or wants your computer to tell you who to associate with, it seems Microsoft is soon going to solve a lot of your problems. It makes sense that a tech patent such as this one would originate from the same company that recently confirmed employees need breaks from work in order to function properly. The future of worker wellness has never been brighter.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

1 Comment
  • This is interesting and potentially useful. The challenge will be not making it sound creepy. It's been done to death in dystopian science fiction