Find out how Microsoft Researchers are using wearable technology to read your moods

You can feel the stress building – you’re on deadline, your computer has stalled to a standstill, you’re pounding keys in frustration and your blood is boiling. You’re about to explode.

And at that exact moment, your computer tells you to take deep breath and a walk.

Thanks to a team of Microsoft researchers within the VIBE group (Visualization and Interaction for Business and Entertainment) within Microsoft Research, the technology that would make that intervention possible is a work in progress focusing on human computer interaction (HCI) and clinical psychology. Three years ago, the team started working in the area of affective computing, designing systems — some including wearable computing devices — that attempt to identify your mood and react accordingly, in order to help you reflect on your own state. 

On Wednesday, November 20, Mary Czerwinski, principal researcher of the VIBE Group, will deliver the closing keynote at the AMIA 2013 Annual Symposium in Washington, DC, where she’ll share her teams innovative research results to further advance the field of affective computing with the health community.

Intrigued? Can’t be there in person and want to know more? We did too, so we turned to Channel 9 to shine the spotlight in their latest Microsoft Research Luminaries series on two of the researchers making affective computing a reality, Mary Czerwinski, principal researcher and Asta Roseway, principal research designer, both in Microsoft Research.

A key tenet of the team’s work is understanding and aiding emotional health to improve the quality of life. Mary Czerwinski, principal researcher at Microsoft Research, says, “Our research goes beyond traditional fitness, it’s about emotional fitness.”

There are all kinds of ways a system could pick up on what you’re feeling, such as utilizing a variety of sensors that monitor someone’s facial features, how quickly someone is typing, the intensity of each key strike, or the stress in their voice. The combination of machine learning and data analytics could potentially tie together all this data to predict quite well how a person is feeling.

Your computer may not be able to read you – yet – but research in affective computing is bringing that to a reality soon.

Be sure to tune into Channel 9 to find out more about the novel ways their research is extending the boundaries of affective computing.

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Microsoft News Center Staff