Monday, November 19, 2012

MIT Researchers Help Machines Understand Emotion


From: Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry - 09/19/2012

By: Jamie Hartford


Rosalind Picard, and other researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working to change the perception that machines can't understand how people feel through novel uses of sensors.


Picard, said the technology can help provide better understanding of people who can't otherwise express how they are feeling outwardly, such as children with autism who have a limited ability to speak. She showed video of a girl with autism who was wearing electrodermal sensors, along with a graph of the corresponding electrodermal activity data they captured. As the child appeared to become agitated, the graph spiked; when the child played on a swing, an activity thought to induce calm, the line leveled out.


Picard said the most surprising discovery came when one of her students took the sensors home over Christmas break to test them on his brother who has autism. The data he captured showed an abnormally high peak in electrodermal activity that Picard initially thought was due to a hardware malfunction. She asked the student to check his notes to see what happened during that time, and as it turned out, the spike occurred just before his brother had a seizure.


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Rosalind Picard