KEEN Awardee | Fall 2018

Piloerection Sensor: Insight into Autonomic Function

Health icon, disabled. A red heart with a cardiac rhythm running through it.

Piloerection, or the formation of goosebumps, is a strong indicator of the autonomic nervous system. Highly correlated with sympathetic stimuli, the study of goosebump formation is applicable in multiple fields, ranging from emotion studies in psychology to nervous system pathologies in healthcare. Despite its wide-ranging applications, the standard method of detecting piloerection is laborious and ill-defined. This has led to the need for an easier method of piloerection detection which may simultaneously aid in the quantization of sympathetic activation. This project explores a method of detecting piloerection through laser diffraction, with future work refining sensitivity in the sensor.

Student researcher

Angela Hemesath

Biomedical engineering

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Graduation date: Spring 2019