affective design

Exploring Emotional Design

Robots and Emotion

An article on BBC News discusses a multi-country, European initiative called Feelix Growing that is focusing on developing technologies to help robots learn and interpret human emotional responses and behavior.

The intiative partners will program simple robots to react to human behavioural and emotional cues, like movement, touch, facial expressions and “kind words”(tone of voice?)

These emotional robots will learn through the feedback they collect from people. Feedback is collected through visual, auditory, tactile, motion and distancing sensors. The machines will also have the ability to detect and respond to human emotional expressions and facial expressions through an artificial neural network.

“The human emotional world is very complex but we respond to simple cues, things we don’t notice or we don’t pay attention to, such as how someone moves”.

They’ll be focusing on human emotions that require the robot to respond or react with behavior, like “anger, happiness or loneliness”. Is this the dawn of a world filled with objects sensitive to our emotions? If this technology is mostly software based, could advances in this area also be applied in other products?

Robots of Dawn

It’s fascinating… and also scary. Possible applications of this technology are sure to be huge. Thinking of a wireless, “everyware” of products is one thing. But, a wireless everyware of products that also knows how we’re feeling and can communicate that information to others on an ongoing basis adds something new to the equation. Asimov wouldn’t be surprised.

For more on machines that respond to emotions see:
Robots and Ethics
One Step Closer to Emotional Machines
Games That Respond to Our Emotions? (Part 1)
Games That Respond to Our Emotions? (Part 2)
Emotion Detection Software Used in Call Centers

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