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Advances in miniaturized computing, storage and communication resources for personal wearable electronics devices, as well as the availability of diverse sensors for state assessment enable the development of a wide variety of wearable body area network (BAN) systems for psychophysiological measurements. These systems pave the way for acquisition of quality data relevant for research studies, amongst others, on the autonomic nervous system (ANS) activation in emotion. We present a high-level overview of BAN and its features, and we review 173 publications that report research studies on emotion activation and particularly 15 BAN systems employed in these studies. We discuss each BAN in terms of its capacity for ambulatory, i.e., out of the laboratory, assessment of the ANS activation in emotion. Finally, we highlight the design challenges to be addressed to make BAN systems effective for a wide range of applications to support users wellbeing and overall Quality of Life improvement. This paper provides knowledge to those interested in (ambulatory) assessment of the ANS activation on the set of systems currently used in research, and it aims to highlight opportunities for scientists and practitioners in, amongst others, the affective computing domain, enabling them to reflect upon their BAN requirements and study designs.