MIT Made a Wearable That Knows How a Conversation’s Going

Jason DorfmanNo matter how debonair you are at your best, conversation can be awkward for anyone. That’s especially true for those who struggle to pick up on social cues. To help navigate those rocky exchanges, MIT CSAIL researchers have created a wearable system that can tell whether the person you’re talking to is happy or sad. It’s a start. The device takes an existing research-grade wearable—Samsung’s Simband smartwatch, which can measure movement, heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, and skin temperature—and pairs it with audio capture that can pick up signals like tone, pitch, energy, and word choice, and provide a transcript of the text. By weighing all of the incoming signals, algorithms can classify each five-second installment of conversation as either “positive” or “negative.” “You have a GPS in…

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