Ever feel like you’re droning on and no one is listening? This watch could help.
Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston have created a wearable wristband — like a watch but it doesn’t tell time — that can hear your conversation’s tone while you’re speaking.
The gadget uses artificial intelligence (AI) to pick up on and differentiate between happy, sad and neutral voices.
The wristband could be particularly helpful for those on the autism spectrum, who struggle to interpret tone of voice and body language.
“As far as we know, this is the first experiment that collects both physical data and speech data in a passive but robust way, even while subjects are having natural, unstructured interactions,” said PhD candidate Mohammad Ghassemi who designed the mood-predicting device.
“Our results show that it’s possible to classify the emotional tone of conversations in real-time.”
Special sensors capture physiological data including heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, temperature and movement.
Long pauses and monotonous vocal tones as well as fidgeting indicate the subject is bored, causing the wristband to vibrate.
“Imagine if, at the end of a conversation, you could rewind it and see the moments when the people around you felt the most anxious,” said Tuka Al Hanai, a graduate MIT student and a member of Ghassemi’s team .
“Our work is a step in this direction, suggesting that we may not be that far away from a world where people can have an intelligent social coach right in their pocket — a judgemental, objective, personal social coach.”