Hitachi happy sensor

It should come as little surprise that a wearable “happiness” sensor should originate in Japan, the same country that gave the world the terminally cute “Hello Kitty” character. Industry giant Hitachi developed this device as a means of gathering data about employee behavior, and then using this information as a means of measuring overall happiness in the workplace.

The concept admittedly sounds a bit far-fetched at first, but it turns out to make good sense. The device actually tracks the activity level and location of individual workers. The company tracked the data for many workers in many different offices, and then surveyed the workers to record their perceived level of happiness. Big Data analytics were applied to the two sets of information, and correlations were found between certain physical behavior patterns and the employees’ reported moods. The system is used to predict an employee’s happiness level by matching activities and interactions with other workers with the previously identified patterns.

The system is designed to help evaluate the impact of changes in management policies, providing an objective means of measuring the results. Hitachi also reports that their research also indicates that a higher happiness level among workers leads to higher productivity. This is an interesting case of how seemingly unrelated data can be used to measure something as difficult and subjective as mood, and points the way to addressing other thorny behavioral issues in the workplace and beyond through data collected from wearable Health Tech devices.