Evaluation of a fast test based on biometric signals to assess mental fatigue at the workplace—A pilot study

Mauricio A. Ramírez-Moreno, Patricio Carrillo-Tijerina, Milton Osiel Candela-Leal, Myriam Alanis-Espinosa, Juan Carlos Tudón-Martínez, Armando Roman-Flores, Ricardo A. Ramírez-Mendoza, Jorge de J. Lozoya-Santos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Non-pathological mental fatigue is a recurring, but undesirable condition among people in the fields of office work, industry, and education. This type of mental fatigue can often lead to negative outcomes, such as performance reduction and cognitive impairment in education; loss of focus and burnout syndrome in office work; and accidents leading to injuries or death in the transportation and manufacturing industries. Reliable mental fatigue assessment tools are promising in the improvement of performance, mental health and safety of students and workers, and at the same time, in the reduction of risks, accidents and the associated economic loss (e.g., medical fees and equipment reparations). The analysis of biometric (brain, cardiac, skin conductance) signals has proven to be effective in discerning different stages of mental fatigue; however, many of the reported studies in the literature involve the use of long fatigue-inducing tests and subject-specific models in their methodologies. Recent trends in the modeling of mental fatigue suggest the usage of non subject-specific (general) classifiers and a time reduction of calibration procedures and experimental setups. In this study, the evaluation of a fast and short-calibration mental fatigue assessment tool based on biometric signals and inter-subject modeling, using multiple linear regression, is presented. The proposed tool does not require fatigue-inducing tests, which allows fast setup and implementation. Electroencephalography, photopletismography, electrodermal activity, and skin temperature from 17 subjects were recorded, using an OpenBCI helmet and an Empatica E4 wristband. Correlations to self-reported mental fatigue levels (using the fatigue assessment scale) were calculated to find the best mental fatigue predictors. Three-class mental fatigue models were evaluated, and the best model obtained an accuracy of 88% using three features, β/θ (C3), and the α/θ (O2 and C3) ratios, from one minute of electroencephalography measurements. The results from this pilot study show the feasibility and potential of short-calibration procedures and inter-subject classifiers in mental fatigue modeling, and will contribute to the use of wearable devices for the development of tools oriented to the well-being of workers and students, and also in daily living activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11891
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Authors would like to thank Tecnologico de Monterrey for the support during the development of this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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