[QODLink]
Archive
Coming soon: Mind-reading computers
A raised eyebrow, quizzical look or a nod of the head are just a few of the facial expressions computers could soon be using to read people's minds.
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2006 13:39 GMT
A computer will be able to read an individual's thoughts
A raised eyebrow, quizzical look or a nod of the head are just a few of the facial expressions computers could soon be using to read people's minds.

An "emotionally aware" computer being developed by British and American scientists will be able to read an individual's thoughts by analysing a combination of facial movements that represent underlying feelings.

Peter Robinson of Cambridge University in England said "the system we have developed allows a wide range of mental states to be identified just by pointing a video camera at someone".

He and his collaborators believe the mind-reading computer's applications could range from improving people's driving skills to helping companies tailor advertising to people's moods.

"Imagine a computer that could pick the right emotional moment to try to sell you something, a future where mobile phones, cars and websites could read our mind and react to our moods," he added.

The technology is already programmed to recognise 24 facial expressions generated by actors.

Robinson hopes to get more data from the public to determine whether someone is bored, interested, confused, or agrees or disagrees when it is unveiled at a science exhibition in London on Monday, July 3.

Marketing

People visiting the four-day exhibition organised by the Royal Society, Britain's academy of leading scientists, will be invited to take part in a study to sharpen the programme's abilities.

"Our research could enable websites to tailor advertising or products to your mood"

Peter Robinson,
Cambridge University

The scientists, who are developing the technology in collaboration with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, also hope to get it to accept other inputs such as posture and gesture.

"Our research could enable websites to tailor advertising or products to your mood," Robinson said.

"For example, a webcam linked with our software could process your image, encode the correct emotional state and transmit information to a website."

It could also be useful in online teaching to show whether someone understands what is being explained and in improving road safety by determining whether a driver is confused, bored or tired.

"We are working with a big car company and they envision this being employed in cars within five years," Robinson said, adding that a camera could be built into the dashboard.

Anyone who does not want to give away too much information about what they are feeling, he said, can just cover up the camera.

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
The seizure of the Tabqa airbase highlights the Islamic State's consolidation of power in eastern Syria, analysts say.
Traditional spring festival blossoms outside India through fun runs, raves and TV commercials.
Parents unable to look after children are marrying them off at a tender age, exposing them to maternal deaths.
New measures needed as dozens of citizens fighting with Islamic State pose home-grown terror threat, PM Abbott says.
Israel has re-arrested dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank, an act a human rights group says is 'unjustified'.
join our mailing list