In order to realize a hand-held monitor of the sympathetic nervous system, we fabricated a completely automated analytical system for salivary amylase activity using a dry-chemistry system. This was made possible by the fabrication of a disposable test-strip equipped with built-in collecting and reagent papers and an automatic saliva transfer device. In order to cancel out the effects of variations in environmental temperature and pH of saliva, temperature- and pH-adjusted equations were experimentally determined, and each theoretical value was input into the memory of the hand-held monitor. Within a range of salivary amylase activity between 10 and 140 kU/l, the calibration curve for the hand-held monitor showed a coefficient with R(2)=0.97. Accordingly, it was demonstrated that the hand-held monitor enabled a user to automatically measure the salivary amylase activity with high accuracy with only 30 microl sample of saliva within a minute from collection to completion of the measurement. In order to make individual variations of salivary amylase activity negligible during driver fatigue assessment, a normalized equation was proposed. The normalized salivary amylase activity correlated with the mental and physical fatigue states. Thus, this study demonstrated that an excellent hand-held monitor with an algorithm for normalization of individuals' differences in salivary amylase activity, which could be easily and quickly used for evaluating the activity of the sympathetic nervous system at any time. Furthermore, it is suggested that the salivary amylase activity might be used as a better index for psychological research.