Today I measured the number of minutes I jogged, how many glasses of water, tea & coffee I drank, and the number of hours of sleep on which I am operating. I shared (and perhaps overshared) that data with my husband and a co-worker.

Creative Commons licensed photo by Flickr's ZeRo'Skill

But something which BOTH my husband and co-worker might appreciate more would be if I were to gain a heightened awareness of my emotions.

Affectiva, a company with roots at MIT Media Lab‘s Affective Computing group, provides opt-in technologies to measure and communicate emotion and they are a signal to watch in the Quantified Emotion landscape.

How do they measure emotion? So far, Affectiva‘s tools include accelerometers for motion, skin conductance sensors for excitement level, temperature sensors (through their Q Sensor), and more recently facial recognition (using Affedex) using simple webcams.

I first started tracking their work with emotion measurement in order to help families with children on the autism spectrum, and now they are expanding into the arena of market research.

Yesterday, they announced a National Science Foundation grant  “to develop an online version of its technology that enables computers to recognize human expressions and deduce emotional and cognitive states.”

The business applications of this grant work are clear:

Affdex not only allows more accurate understanding of an important aspect of human communication — emotion — it helps democratize emotion research by making it accessible, user-friendly and affordable for large and small corporations.  The goal is a technology service that truly transforms the way customers and businesses communicate aabout product experiences.

“The NSF grant is an important step toward helping us open up the science of emotion measurement and make it massively available,” said Affectiva co-founder Dr. Rana el Kaliouby, who led the invention of the facial expression technology as a researcher at the University of Cambridge and at the MIT Media Lab.

In addition to tracking these commercial applications of technologies that measure emotion, I am looking forward to hearing more about their other candidate application areas including for clinical research, tools for persons with disabilities, online gaming and more.


Note:  Also posted on the IFTF blog, FutureNow