The Military Army Blog


Product Store – Electronics

Could artificial intelligence help to combat stress? An interview with Davide Morelli

Interview conducted by , MA (Cantab)

How is stress defined?

Stress is actually a bit of a buzzword. The initial definition was the reaction to changes , which is why you get stressed also when good things happen, hence the distinction between good stress, eustress, and bad stress, distress. Since the 90 s, stress has become a synonym of the everyday hustling, describing a life style. We focus on the original definition, evaluating the user autonomic balance that can be estimated from heart rate variability (HRV).

[embedded content]

Can you please outline the physiological response to stress in terms of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems?

The autonomic nervous system (the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems) has a direct influence over most of our internal organs. The sympathetic system is called fight or flight because it takes over whenever you have to perform quickly, answering to a challenge. When you are under stress, the sympathetic system help you perform, the heart rate accelerates, adrenaline flows. But this also means that you are consuming your body to face a challenge.

The parasympathetic system is called rest and digest , and basically takes over when you are relaxed, and helps your body fortify. After a period of stress, it s important for you to relax, so the parasympathetic system can take over and you can recover. We usually think that stress is always bad. This is not true, stress is basically whatever happens whenever you have to adapt to a change, and the physiological reaction helps you cope with this challenge. An autonomic imbalance towards the sympathetic system becomes dangerous only if you never recover after a prolonged period of high activation. In that case stress becomes harmful, and it has shown to be correlated with dangerous conditions.

How does deep breathing work from a physiological perspective?

Luckily for us, there is a quite simple trick that has an immediate and beneficial effect on the autonomic system. The diaphragm is linked to the vagus nerve, which interfaces with parasympathetic control of the heart rate. If you perform diaphragmatic, slow, deep breathing, you will literally pull your vagus nerve, forcing your heart rate to raise during inhalation (a momentary suspension of parasympathetic activity), and fall during exhalation (parasympathetic system kicks back in).

Slow diaphragmatic breathing has been proven to relax patients. It s commonly used to calm down patients with panic attacks. You can find scientific papers back from the 60 s proving its efficacy, but it s a technique that was already used in China thousands of years ago.

Could Artificial Intelligence Help To Combat Stress? An Interview With Davide Morelli

What effect does deep breathing have on the heart rate?

The stimulation of the vagus nerve, if done correctly by breathing using the diaphragm, will force the heart rate to raise and fall in synch with the breathing. This phenomenon is called Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (RSA). However, if you breathe forcing expansion of your chest instead of your diaphragm, you won t see anything interesting on your heart rate, nor will your autonomic activity be affected. Babies spontaneously know how to correctly breathe (using the diaphragm). Sadly, adults tend to forget, and usually breathe forcing expansion of the chest. Chest breathing will not have the same effect on your autonomic system.

Could Artificial Intelligence Help To Combat Stress? An Interview With Davide Morelli

Can you please outline the app Biobeats developed to teach users to deep breathe?

We developed an app, Hear and Now ([2] ), that guides the user through breathing exercises. Using music and visual cues, we teach the correct breathing pattern. In the meantime we measure the users heart rate using the smartphone camera as a PPG device, or using a connected wearable heart rate device. Measuring the response of the users heart rate to the exercise, we give immediate feedback about the effectiveness of the exercise. This will let the user know if they performed chest or diaphragmatic breathing, and will let them track their progress over time.

Could Artificial Intelligence Help To Combat Stress? An Interview With Davide Morelli

How does the app work and in what ways does it use artificial intelligence?

The app leverages on Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia to measure the users breathing quality. We are currently piloting a new version of the app that uses artificial intelligence to estimate the level of stress of the users, and suggests the best moment to perform a breathing exercise.

Could Artificial Intelligence Help To Combat Stress? An Interview With Davide Morelli

What were the main aims behind developing the Hear and Now app?

We believe that technology can help people track their wellbeing. With wearable devices, this can happen passively. We think that the Quantified Self movement should progress from giving data about physical activity back to users, to giving insights about what causes stress, and a concrete help in managing stress.

How do you plan to use the data from the app?

We are training our stress detection algorithms using the data we collect from internal pilots. Once the algorithms are ready, we will apply the same technology to the B2C market, and offer stress coaching programs to users.

What does the future hold for Biobeats?

We are currently building stress reduction programs for medium to large sized corporate clients and will be launching a B2C product with breathing and stress coaching programs.

How important do you think artificial intelligence will be in combating medical issues such as stress going forwards?

At the moment, we are focusing on wellbeing, trying to help people detect stress before they burn out. However, the same Artificial Intelligence approach could be used to detect the onset of conditions, and implement early interventions. After years of stagnation, deep learning has shown how effective it can be in solving tasks that can t be easily solved by traditional computer science. However, it s a young discipline, and there is still much to be done, and the intersection with the medical field is still largely to be explored.

Where can readers find more information?

The effectiveness of breathing techniques has been largely explored and many interesting scientific papers can be found on Google Scholar. The Benson Relaxation Response is certainly a good starting point. About breathing and asthma:

  • Holloway, Elizabeth A., and Robert J. West. Integrated Breathing and Relaxation Training (the Papworth Method) for Adults with Asthma in Primary Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Thorax 62, no. 12 (2007): 1039 42.
  • Holloway, E., and F. S. Ram. Breathing Exercises for Asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 1 (2004).[3].
  • Opat, A. J., M. M. Cohen, M. J. Bailey, and M. J. Abramson. A Clinical Trial of the Buteyko Breathing Technique in Asthma as Taught by a Video. Journal of Asthma 37, no. 7 (2000): 557 64.
  • Thomas, M., R. K. McKinley, E. Freeman, C. Foy, P. Prodger, and D. Price. Breathing Retraining for Dysfunctional Breathing in Asthma: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Thorax 58, no. 2 (2003): 110 15.
  • About breathing and hypertension:
  • Brook, Robert D., Lawrence J. Appel, Melvyn Rubenfire, Gbenga Ogedegbe, John D. Bisognano, William J. Elliott, Flavio D. Fuchs, et al. Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure a Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association. Hypertension 61, no. 6 (2013): 1360 83.
  • Grossman, E., A. Grossman, M. H. Schein, R. Zimlichman, and B. Gavish. Breathing-Control Lowers Blood Pressure. Journal of Human Hypertension 15, no. 4 (2001): 263 69.
  • Holloway, Elizabeth A., and Robert J. West. Integrated Breathing and Relaxation Training (the Papworth Method) for Adults with Asthma in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Thorax 62, no. 12 (2007): 1039 42.
  • Joseph, Chacko N., Cesare Porta, Gaia Casucci, Nadia Casiraghi, Mara Maffeis, Marco Rossi, and Luciano Bernardi. Slow Breathing Improves Arterial Baroreflex Sensitivity and Decreases Blood Pressure in Essential Hypertension. Hypertension 46, no. 4 (2005): 714 18.
  • Schein, M. H., B. Gavish, M. Herz, D. Rosner-Kahana, P. Naveh, B. Knishkowy, E. Zlotnikov, N. Ben-Zvi, and R. N. Melmed. Treating Hypertension with a Device That Slows and Regularises Breathing: A Randomised, Double-Blind Controlled Study. Journal of Human Hypertension 15, no. 4 (2001): 271 78.
  • Viskoper, Reuven, Irena Shapira, Rita Priluck, Rina Mindlin, Larissa Chornia, Anny Laszt, Dror Dicker, Benjamin Gavish, and Ariela Alter. Nonpharmacologic Treatment of Resistant Hypertensives by Device-Guided Slow Breathing Exercises*. American Journal of Hypertension 16, no. 6 (2003): 484 87.

About the relationship between stress and heart rate variability:

  • Boonnithi, Sansanee, and Sukanya Phongsuphap. Comparison of Heart Rate Variability Measures for Mental Stress Detection. In Computing in Cardiology, 2011, 85 88. IEEE, 2011.[4].
  • Hughes, Joel W., and Catherine M. Stoney. Depressed Mood Is Related to High-Frequency Heart Rate Variability during Stressors. Psychosomatic Medicine 62, no. 6 (2000): 796 803.
  • Kim, Desok, Yunhwan Seo, Sook-hyun Kim, and Suntae Jung. Short Term Analysis of Long Term Patterns of Heart Rate Variability in Subjects under Mental Stress. In BioMedical Engineering and Informatics, 2008. BMEI 2008. International Conference on, 2:487 91. IEEE, 2008.[5].
  • Melillo, Paolo, Marcello Bracale, Leandro Pecchia, and others. Nonlinear Heart Rate Variability Features for Real-Life Stress Detection. Case Study: Students under Stress due to University Examination. Biomed Eng Online 10, no. 1 (2011): 96.
  • Mezzacappa, Elizabeth Sibolboro, Robert M. Kelsey, Edward S. Katkin, and Richard P. Sloan. Vagal Rebound and Recovery from Psychological Stress. Psychosomatic Medicine 63, no. 4 (2001): 650 57.
  • Orsila, Reetta, Matti Virtanen, Tiina Luukkaala, Mika Tarvainen, Pasi Karjalainen, Jari Viik, Minna Savinainen, and Clas-Ha akan Nyga ard. Perceived Mental Stress and Reactions in Heart Rate Variability a Pilot Study among Employees of an Electronics Company. International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics 14, no. 3 (2008): 275 83.
  • Pecchia, Leandro, Paolo Melillo, and Marcello Bracale. Remote Health Monitoring of Heart Failure with Data Mining via CART Method on HRV Features. Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on 58, no. 3 (2011): 800 804.
  • Salahuddin, Lizawati, Jaegeol Cho, Myeong Gi Jeong, and Desok Kim. Ultra Short Term Analysis of Heart Rate Variability for Monitoring Mental Stress in Mobile Settings. In Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2007. EMBS 2007. 29th Annual International Conference of the IEEE, 4656 59. IEEE, 2007.[6].
  • Schlotz, Wolff, Ilona S. Yim, Peggy M. Zoccola, Lars Jansen, and Peter Schulz. The Perceived Stress Reactivity Scale: Measurement Invariance, Stability, and Validity in Three Countries. Psychological Assessment 23, no. 1 (2011): 80.
  • Stalder, Tobias, Phil Evans, Frank Hucklebridge, and Angela Clow. Associations between the Cortisol Awakening Response and Heart Rate Variability. Psychoneuroendocrinology 36, no. 4 (2011): 454 62.

About Davide MorelliCould Artificial Intelligence Help To Combat Stress? An Interview With Davide Morelli

Researcher and entrepreneur, I lead BioBeats engineering team. I am a specialist in the intersection between Artificial Intelligence and music, I previously ran a successful distributed software consultancy (Parser) for ten years.

I am also an active composer, and my PhD in Computer Science focuses on energy models for algorithms that illuminate correlations.


  1. ^ (
  2. ^ (
  3. ^ (
  4. ^ (
  5. ^ (
  6. ^ (

The British are Coming! UK Heritage Organizations Urge Preservation of Princeton Battlefield

PRINCETON, N.J., June 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In letters to the Institute for Advanced Study, two respected British Armyrats © military heritage organizations joined the chorus of voices opposing plans by the Institute to build faculty housing on a key part of the Princeton Battlefield known as Maxwell’s Field. The site is where George Washington staged a daring charge against the British Army to win the 1777 Battle of Princeton.

The Battlefields Trust is a United Kingdom-based charity dedicated to the preservation, research and interpretation of battlefields as educational and historical resources. The organization campaigns to defend the battlefields of Great Britain from inappropriate development. These battlefields are the final resting place for thousands of unknown soldiers who forged the British nation.

534 flags line the Princeton Battlefield, one for each soldier killed, wounded, or captured at the January 3, 1777 Battle of Princeton.

The Battlefields Trust was joined in its opposition by The Royal Tigers’ Association, the veterans’ organization of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment. The association is composed of men of one of the most famous fighting units to ever serve in the British Army. The regiment, then identified as the 17th Regiment of Foot, served throughout the American Revolutionary War. The regiment’s stand during the Battle of Princeton was commemorated with the addition of an unbroken laurel wreath to its unit insignia.

In their letters to the Institute for Advanced Study, the Battlefields Trust and The Royal Tigers’ Association urged the Institute to abandon its plans to build 15 faculty houses on the most historically sensitive part of the 22-acre Maxwell’s Field property. The site, identified as core battlefield land by the US National Park Service, is where the right wing of George Washington’s counterattack against the 17th Regiment of Foot, standing alone, first struck British lines.

In its letter, the Battlefields Trust noted that an institution with its own rich history should be mindful of preserving other historic places. “The Battlefields Trust is therefore disappointed that an organisation which cherishes its own history is acting in a way that seemingly ignores the unique historic value of a battlefield site in which it acts as custodian for the people of the US and UK.”

Both organizations will join the Save Princeton Coalition, an alliance of historic preservation organizations to protect the Princeton Battlefield. The 12 member organizations of the Save Princeton Coalition are: American Association for State and Local History[1]; American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati[2]; Battlefields Trust[3]; Civil War Trust[4]; Cultural Landscape Foundation[5]; National Coalition for History[6]; National Parks Conservation Association[7]; National Trust for Historic Preservation[8]; Preservation Maryland[9]; Princeton Battlefield Society[10]; Royal Leicestershire Regiment Association[11]; and New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club[12].

Read more from the Associated Press[13].

Photo –[14]

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:[15]

SOURCE Save Princeton Coalition

Release contains wide tables.
View fullscreen.


  1. ^ American Association for State and Local History (
  2. ^ American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati (
  3. ^ Battlefields Trust (
  4. ^ Civil War Trust (
  5. ^ Cultural Landscape Foundation (
  6. ^ National Coalition for History (
  7. ^ National Parks Conservation Association (
  8. ^ National Trust for Historic Preservation (
  9. ^ Preservation Maryland (
  10. ^ Princeton Battlefield Society (
  11. ^ Royal Leicestershire Regiment Association (
  12. ^ New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club (
  13. ^ Associated Press (
  14. ^ (
  15. ^ (

Landmark event in IAF history: Meet India’s first 3 women fighter pilots

Indian women broke yet another glass ceiling in an age when practically nothing much remains beyond their means anymore. This morning belongs to flight cadets Avani Chaturvedi from Madhya Pradesh, Bhawana Kanth from Bihar and Mohana Singh from Rajasthan, who are currently undergoing stage-II training on Kiran Intermediate Jet Trainers at Hakimpet Air Force Station in Hyderabad. The three women, in their early 20s, created history as India s first women fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF), as they were commissioned from the first batch on Saturday. All of them cleared the first stage of training and has about 150 hours of flying. Once they pass out at the Combined Graduation Parade Spring Term 2016 today, the three will begin advanced training on advanced jet trainer British built Hawks at Bidar in Karnataka. It will take another 145 hours on the Hawks before they actually get into the cockpit of a supersonic fighter. Fighter pilot training takes place in three stages.

Last October, the government decided to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis for five years. But combat roles in the Army and the Navy are still off limits due to a combination of operational concerns and logistical constraints. Women pilots were first included in 1991, for choppers and transport aircrafts. According to official sources, it takes Rs 15 crore to train a fighter pilot. Air Chief Arup Raha has reportedly said that the woman fighters would get no preference and will be assigned as per requirements of the force.

Know these three daredevils

Landmark Event In IAF History: Meet India's First 3 Women Fighter Pilots

Landmark Event In IAF History: Meet India's First 3 Women Fighter Pilots

Mohana Singh, Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawana Kanth. Image courtesy:

Avani Chaturvedi: Born in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna and daughter of an executive engineer of the state government, Avani did her schooling from Adarsh School in Rewa and BTech in Computer Science from Banasthali University, Jaipur.

Bhawana Kanth: Born and brought up in the refinery township of Begusarai in Bihar and daughter of an engineer with Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Bhawana did her schooling from Barauni Refinery DAV Public School and BE in Medical Electronics from BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore.

Mohana Singh: Belongs to Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan and is the daughter of a serving IAF personnel. Mohana did her schooling from Air Force School, New Delhi and BTech in Electronics & Communication from Global Institute of Management and Emerging Technologies, Amritsar. Despite having encountered bad weather, thunder, lightning, uncertainties and hazards of flying, nothing could deter these three flying cadets from achieving their goal.

The achievement of the three would also be a significant milestone for the Indian military, which is yet to permit women into any combat roles. India now has more than 8,350 women Armyrats © military officers (including those from Armed Forces Medical Services and Armyrats © Military Nursing Services). According to government data, if we add officers and non-officers of paraArmyrats © military forces, such as the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Coast Guard, National Security Guard (NSG), etc, the number of women in the forces exceeds 25,000. As per latest figures provided by Defence minister Manohar Parrikar[1] in the Parliament, the armed forces have granted permanent commission (PC) to 340 women officers till now. Women were allowed to join armed forces since early 1990s, but could serve only 14-15 years as short-service commission officers. Following legal battles and policy changes, some have got PC. The strength of women officers (all the three wings combined) comprises 5.4% (3,177) of the total strength (59,380).

Scripting history: Women empowering Indian Defence since 1968

Padmavathy Bandopadhyay was the first woman Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force. She joined IAF in 1968.

The first woman in the history of the Indian Army to be selected for the Sword of Honour was Ajith from Chennai in the year 2010.

Punita Arora became the first woman in India to don the second highest rank, Lieutant General of Indian Armed Forces, and became the first Vice admiral of Indian Navy.

Mitali Madhumita in February 2011 became India s first female officer to receive the Sena Medal for gallantry.

Women don t join combat operations. But beating all odds, Shanti Tigga was an exception, who joined Territorial Army as first female jawan of India. She was honoured by former President Pratibha Patil.

During the Kargil War, Flight Officer Gunjan Saxena made history by becoming the first woman IAF officer to fly in a combat zone. She was later honoured with the Shaurya Vir Award.

Lieutenant Ganeve Lalji, a young intelligence officer created the history by becoming the first woman to be appointed as a key aide to an Army Commander

Squadron Leader Veena Saharan became the first woman pilot to land heavy lift transport aircraft IL-76 at Leh airfield.

Squadron Leader Nidhi Handa, the first woman pilot in IAF from Himachal Pradesh, in a short career span of six years, reached the B-Green category which allows her to captain an aircraft in all the roles in every sector of the country.

Flight Lt Nivedita Choudhary became the first woman from the Indian Air Force (IAF) to summit the Mt. Everest and the first woman from Rajasthan to achieve this feat.

History was made on 26 January, 2012 when Flight Lt, Sneha Shekhawat, an IAF officer led a contingent of 144 airmen at the 63rd Republic Day parade down the Rajpath.

Wing Commander Pooja Thakur was the first female officer to lead an inter-services guard of honour for the US President Barack Obama at Rashtrapati Bhavan before the Republic Day parade on 26 January, 2015.

Flight Lts Alka Shukla and MP Shumathi were trained for combat roles at the Yelahanka station in flying twin-engine Mi-8, a utility and medium-size assault helicopter.

The 66th Republic Day parade, also for the first time, witnessed what the Prime Minister Narendra Modi[2] called Naari Shakti (woman power), with women contingents from the Army, Air Force and Navy marching down Rajpath.

From the pages of history

Russia and Turkey inducted women pilots during the World War II. Post world war, Canada was the first country to induct women pilots in combat role in 1989. It was followed by Norway (1992), Netherlands and USA (1993), UK (1994), France (1999), Israel (2001), Singapore (2003), Germany (2007) and, China and Pakistan (2013).

The first woman in a flying combat role was Sabiha G k en of Turkey in 1936.


  1. ^ Manohar Parrikar (
  2. ^ Narendra Modi (
1 2 3 75