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Emotions

More and more, robots are moving into our everyday lives, and if they’re not going to end up being incredibly annoying, they’re going to have to learn to recognize and cope with human emotions. RoboKind of Dallas, Texas has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise capital for the further development of its Zeno R25 interactive humanoid robot, which is designed to interact with humans in an intuitive way by detecting and mimicking emotions. Read More

Microsoft is throwing its hat (or rather, bra) into the ring, combining with engineers from the University of Rochester and the University of Southampton to develop a mobile platform which can infer your current emotional state and provide just-in-time feedback on when eating is a bad idea. Where do they hide the apparatus? In a bra. Read More

Often called the love hormone, oxytocin has shown the ability to enhance social bonding, decrease anxiety and encourage an overall feeling of satisfaction with life. A new study out of Northwestern University, however, finds that this ancient hormone has a dark side, and is capable of strengthening unpleasant memories, fear, and anxiety. This Jeckyll and Hyde behavior results from the fact that oxytocin has a general strengthening effect on social memories, without regard to their polarity. Read More
The University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom has unveiled a virtual “talking head” that is capable of expressing a range of human emotions. The team believes that the lifelike face, called Zoe, is the most expressive controllable avatar ever created, and could one day be used as a digital personal assistant. Read More
Along with facial expressions, tell-tale variations in facial blood flow that causes reddening and whitening of the skin can also give an indication of people's emotions. To take advantage of this, 2AI Labs developed a special pair of glasses designed to enhance a person's color vision to better enable them to perceive the oxygenation and hemoglobin variations in another person's face, and thus their emotional state. The glasses are now finding a variety of applications, from medical to security. Read More
Have you ever felt that one computer game is more "addictive" than another? Leaving definitions aside for the moment, it's fair to say that an addictive computer game is likely to be a more successful product than a game that is merely fun to play. Gaming developers apply numerous techniques and tests in an attempt to evaluate which games will hit the right buttons. Now researchers at Academia Sinica and the National Taiwan University (ASNTU) have developed a direct test for the addictiveness of a computer game based on physiological responses of a group of new players. Read More
For many sufferers of aphasia, a disorder caused by stroke that impairs the language centers of the brain, simple things like writing or typing up emails become incredibly difficult. One inventor, though, has created an email interface based on the Kinect system that allows his mom to do the impossible, and send simple emails to her friends and family. Read More
Introduced by Japan’s Masahiro Mori, the “Uncanny Valley” principle states that the more a humanoid robot strives and fails to mimic human appearance, the less appealing it is to humans. In yet another attempt to cross the valley, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Pisa, Italy, endowed a female-form humanoid called FACE with a set of complex facial expression features. They did so in the hope of finding the answer to one fundamental question: can a robot express emotions? Read More
As proposed by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “flow” is an ideal psychological state in which we are engaged enough by a task not to find it boring, and yet not so challenged by it that we get discouraged. When learning new subjects, however, students often end up falling at one end or the other of that scale. Now, a new computerized tutoring system has been developed to keep students in the “flow” zone. It does so by monitoring their emotional state, then adjusting its teaching method to steer them away from boredom or frustration. Read More
Nobody likes having to deal with automated telephone services, that say wonderful things like, “You said ‘Beelzebub,’ is that correct?”. Such services may get slightly less annoying, however, thanks to research being carried out at Spain’s Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universidad de Granada. A team of scientists from those institutions have created a computer system that is able to recognize the emotional state of a person speaking to it, so that it can alter its behavior to make things less stressful. Read More
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