Mind reading Device from MIT

This is a rather interesting news from MIT. This can essentially help many “brain-dead” victims who may not have been brain-dead really or those with Autism. Of course, such a device can be used by many other folks like:

FBI: to know what the terror suspect is thinking
Lover: to know what his beloved is thinking
Quiz Participants: To know the answer in the Quiz Master’s mind..

etc. etc. Any more ideas?

Three researchers at the MIT Media Lab have developed a device that "reads minds" and alerts wearers to the emotional state of the person they’re conversing with.

Dr. El Kaliouby presents the Emotional-Social Prosthetic device.The device, called the Emotional Social Intelligence Prosthetic, or ESP, was presented by Rana El Kaliouby on Tuesday at the 2006 Body Sensor Network Conference at the MIT Media Lab. The research team hopes the device will help people with autism learn to better read the social cues of others.

"Mind-reading" is a psychology term for the subconscious notice and analysis of nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions and head movements, which humans regularly use to determine the emotional states of others.

"Mind-reading is something we do all the time subconsciously," El Kaliouby told CNET News.com. "We use behavior and nonverbal cues to analyze the state of those you are speaking with to modify your own actions and those of others by trying to motivate them," she said.

El Kaliouby is developing the ESP device for her postdoctoral project as part of the Affective Computing research group at the MIT Media Lab under Rosalind Picard. Alea Teeters, also a member of the group and the ESP project, demonstrated the device. The project stems from El Kaliouby’s doctoral work at the University of Cambridge, in which she developed the computational model on which the device is based. Like humans, the system determines emotional states by analyzing hierarchical combinations of subtle facial movements and gestures, such as eyebrow raising, lip pursing and head nodding.

The ESP consists of an OQO handheld, a tiny wearable video camera, an earphone and a small vibrating device that can be worn on a belt. The camera can be attached to a baseball hat, or worn around the neck on a stand akin to a harmonica holder.

The ESP camera can be worn facing outward by the speaker, or as a self-cam by the listener. As conversation ensues, the device "mind-reads" for the wearer. When the listener, whom the camera is focused on, begins to exhibit signs of boredom, the speaker is signaled so that she can readjust her behavior to bring the listener back into the conversation.

The device is especially useful to those with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). people with ASC often lack the ability to evaluate others’ emotions on their own. The result is that high-functioning autistics, who might otherwise fair reasonably well in the world on their own, are hampered by a tendency toward misunderstanding and boring others.

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