Emotion-Sensing Computer Feels Your Pain

Posted on February 16, 2006

The Discovery Channel reports that scientists are working on a computer that uses emotion-sensing technology to notice when you are feeling frustrated. The computer can then respond with soothing music or apologies.

Wouldn't it be great if your computer could recognize when you're frustrated with it and adjust itself to calm you down? Emotion-sensing technology could someday allow a computer to do just that.

Computer scientist Christian Peter of the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics in Rostock, Germany, and his colleagues are working on a system that collects data about a person's emotional state using sight, sound and touch technology.

The system then interprets the information and reacts accordingly.

For example, if a computer senses that its user is agitated, it might tone down the background color of the screen, turn down background music, enlarge or reduce graphics, adjust the flow of information being presented to the user or simply apologize.

Imagine you've been slaving away for hours on an important report for work when suddenly the computer crashes. You reboot and panickly search for the report but can't find it anywhere. The computer realizes that you are angry and frustrated so it turns on some calm music and says, "I'm so sorry." Will that really make you feel any better?

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