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Wed, Apr 05, 2006

New ESP Device Alerts Wearer to Emotional State of Person They Are Conversing With

Three researchers at the MIT Media Lab have developed a camera-driven device that alerts wearers to the emotional state of the person they’re conversing with. The device, called the Emotional Social Intelligence Prosthetic (ESP), reads facial and body language cues of the person the wearer is speaking with and provides feedback on their emotional state to the speaker via an earphone and vibrating belt attachment. Rana El Kaliouby is developing the ESP device for her postdoctoral project as part of the Affective Computing research group at the MIT Media Lab under Rosalind Picard. The device is designed to prompt autistic people, who are prone to monologues or repetitive behavior, to ask questions, or give the listener a chance to participate in conversation. Clearly there may be applications for mediators and negotiators in training as well. 

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The computer data-sets of the ESP, which are currently programmed to detect six emotional state standards, can be readjusted for cultural differences in facial expression patterns, or updated with new information personalized to the wearer.

However, there are some challenges. The ESP computer does not yet take eye movement into account, and a better digital camera is needed so that the device could more easily fit inside a baseball cap or clip to a pair of glasses. For more on this device, check out the story at CNET News on a recent demonstration of the technology that tipped me off to this.

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 04 05 | Filed under Tech News  

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