Measuring stress with spit

Having a stressful day at the office? Japanese medical equipment maker Nipro has come up with a new handheld device that instantly lets you know just how frazzled you are. Not that you need anyone to tell you that, but a little confirmation couldn't hurt. All you have to do is spit.

Cocoro Meter

The Cocoro Meter measures the level of amylase, a digestive enzyme found in pancreatic juice and saliva that increases when people are under mental or physical duress. To find out what your amylase has to say about the strain of that ever-approaching deadline, you moisten a chip with spit and put it into the machine for a reading. Results come in the form of numbers alongside little stick-figure icons that convey varying levels of disquiet. Ease and portability are the big draws here: The meter--which sells for 19,800 yen ($164)--weighs around a quarter of a pound.

Of course, the gadget would be truly remarkable if it could automatically fire up the incense and summon a masseuse when your reading goes through the roof.

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.


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