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Analyzing human emotions with technology

March 28, 2016
By Heewon Kim  Seoul International School  10th grade

By Heewon Kim
Seoul International School
10th grade

Emotion and technology are seemingly paradoxical.

Emotion, as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a conscious mental reaction subjectively experienced as strong feeling.” On the contrary, technology is defined as “the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area.”

Companies and researchers have started to connect technology to human emotion. Many researchers had looked and are continuing to look into how an individual’s emotional health can be improved, from taking specific antidepressants to doing certain exercises.

One major field that is actively being researched is neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that act as “messengers” to carry messages between neurons and nerve cells. While there have been many studies in fields such as this, few have delved into connecting technology and emotions.

One company that has recently gained attention is SoftBank, one of Japan’s biggest telecommunications companies. They have created Pepper, the world’s “first humanoid robot with emotions.” Pepper has become popular for being able to recognize, experience, and generate human emotions.

It uses tools such as high-definition cameras, infrared sensors, and recognition technology, which simulate the release of human hormones in response to stimulation. A few examples of the robot’s display of human emotions is when it gets scared in the dark, becomes happy when dancing, and feels sad when it is alone. Pepper is marketed as the first humanoid robot that can identify human emotions and select the behavior best suited to the situation.

Dancing and exercising are well-known “feel good” habits, which increase the production of endorphins, neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers and trigger feelings of euphoria. Serotonin is another neurotransmitter that enhances positive mood. Getting enough sleep, establishing a daily workout routine, and absorbing sunlight can increase one’s serotonin levels.

The use of technology to analyze human emotions has also been applied to music. Moodbox is a wireless speaker that monitors human emotions, uses learning software to select music and lighting accordingly, and interacts with users. Using a built-in microphone, Moodbox also listens to the user’s speaking pitch, speed, and analyzes other patterns as well. It is quite ironic to think that technology, which multiple studies have revealed to be harmful to one’s emotional intelligence, is now being considered a possible method of improving it. The future only holds unlimited possibility into realms of humanity that one would have never previously imagined.

One Comment

  1. kelly

    November 27, 2017 at 10:14 AM

    yes..I like the basic concepts behind Second Life but it seems incredibly outdated and when I played it was intensely non-intuitive / user friendly to an extent that made EVE look like a game for toddlers. thanks from
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