A DEVICE that can pick up on people’s emotions is being developed to help people with autism relate to those around them. It will alert its autistic user if the person they are talking to starts showing signs of getting bored or annoyed.
One of the problems facing people with autism is an inability to pick up on social cues. Failure to notice that they are boring or confusing their listeners can be particularly damaging, says Rana El Kaliouby of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "It’s sad because people then avoid having conversations with them."
The "emotional social intelligence prosthetic" device, which El Kaliouby is constructing along with MIT colleagues Rosalind Picard and Alea Teeters, consists of a camera small enough to be pinned to the side of a pair of glasses, connected to a hand-held computer running image recognition software plus software that can read the emotions these images show. If the wearer seems to be failing to engage his or her listener, the software makes the hand-held computer vibrate.
While I’m serious about my wife’s declaration, devices like this – if they evolve and actually work – could become a major tool in market research, and media/information programming and advertising.
Note: “If the wearer seems to be failing to engage his or her listener, the software makes the hand-held computer vibrate.” What if that “wearer” happened to be the team marketing a new product, the producer of a television show or the agency behind an advertisement? If their efforts failed to engage people, they would be notified that something is wrong. A lot of marketing and media executives would be forced to wake up and realize that so much is so very wrong today. It’s the advertising industry’s engagement quandary.
(device find via Digg)