I stumbled across the website today for the Galvactivator. It’s a glove that’s a skin conductance sensor with a light built into it that lights up at higher levels of conductivity. Made by some folks at MIT.

Website is here: *
As you may know anxiety/emotional arousal is one of a number of things associated with higher levels skin conductivity. Here's a plot of data from their website, showing changes in skin conductivity.
I could see something like this having useful applications for therapy.

One of the major reasons therapy hasn’t worked out for me has been that I didn’t feel like the therapist understood me. We’re very out of sync. These therapists can’t all be so out of sync with all their clients. Something I’m bringing to the table must make it more difficult. Aside from the obvious problem of my attachment issues, I think it’s possible that my facial expressions are also harder to read than average.

I’m very practiced at hiding reactions. It’s not that I don’t show facial expressions, of course I do, but there’s a lot that’s hidden too. It’s not at all unusual for me to get a sudden panic about something while in class or a meeting. My heart rate will go out of control, but no one notices, because my face doesn’t show it (at least not that I’m aware). A lot of this unintentionally carries over to my therapy. I’m sure it complicates things if they’re working from fewer visual clues.
S.M (the one therapist who gets me, but sadly does not work in the area) has a particularly large chair in his office. He’s commented to me how he can tell when I’m getting upset by how far down I’ve slid down the chair. Sometimes I nearly fall out. Therapy is a cycle of sliding down the chair and then realizing I’m going to fall out and sitting up again.

Something like this could be an interesting tool in therapy, because it would be an added piece of visual information about a client’s emotional state. It does get suspiciously close to the fantasy of wanting mind reading I was once accused of by a therapist, but is safer, because it would still be up to the wearer to choose to share the content/cause of the emotions.

What do you think?

It’s too bad they’re not for sale. The faq says someone is looking into making them for sale though, so maybe they’ll be available eventually. I would definitely buy one.

*It’s a shame the website uses frames, really I expect better webcoding from MIT. It’s not 1998 anymore. Also in-line CSS and tables used for layout. Eww. Why? Maybe the website is old?