Social coach on your wrist: MIT-developed wearable predicts the wearer's mood

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Institute of Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) have developed a wearable they say can predict the mood of its wearer by analyzing speech patterns and physiological signs. The system may someday serve as a social coach for people with anxiety or Asperger’s syndrome.

“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,” Tuka Alhanai, a CSAIL graduate student who worked on the project, said in a statement. “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 AI social coach right in their pocket.”

Using two AI algorithms and a Samsung Simband, the system measures vitals like heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, and skin temperature, while recording audio data related to the wearer’s pitch, tone, and vocabulary. It then attempts to identify the speaker’s mood, from positive to neutral to negative, in five-second increments.

“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,” Mohammad Ghassemi, a CSAIL doctoral student who worked on the project, said in a statement. “Our results show that it’s possible to classify the emotional tone of conversations in real time.”

The system is imperfect and not yet ready for real-world applications, but it’s better than current methods. Results showed it could identify moods with an accuracy of about 18 percent above chance and 7.5 percent better than existing technologies. Alhanai and Ghassemi will present their findings at Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) conference in San Francisco next week.

Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Computing

Microsoft accelerates carbon reduction plans in new sustainability push

Microsoft wants to accelerate its sustainability goal of becoming a zero-carbon company. To reach those goals, Microsoft is doubling its self-imposed carbon tax to incentivize business divisions in making sustainable choices.
Home Theater

Here are some common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Wearables

The North Focals smartglasses help you rock out with new Spotify support

The North Focals are a pair of smartglasses with a whole lot to offer. They not only look pretty good, but they allow you to get directions, check upcoming items on your calendar, and more. Here's everything you need to know.
Outdoors

When it's not keeping you dry, Gore wants to keep Silicon Valley innovating

The Gore Innovation Center in Santa Clara, California is designed to help tech start ups to create innovate new products that integrated Gore-Tex fabrics and other materials in wearables, health devices, and more.
Wearables

Army uses modified Microsoft HoloLens 2 for ‘real-life game of Call of Duty’

The U.S. Army gave CNBC an exclusive look at its modified Microsoft HoloLens 2 augmented reality headset. The Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, provides various functions for training and combat.
Wearables

Now is the time to pick up and wear a discounted TicWatch smartwatch

Mobvoi is running a promotion on two of its desirable smartwatches, the TicWatch C2 and the TicWatch Pro, where you can get 20-percent off the usual price. This brings our favorite, the C2, down to just $160.
Wearables

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch: Is more expensive better?

Samsung has finally launched its latest smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. The device is aimed at sporty people and is clearly well-designed. But is the new device better than Samsung's flagship watch?
Wearables

The ultimate golf watch isn’t a smartwatch. It’s Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Golf

Forget golf smartwatches, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf is the ultimate timepiece to wear out on the links. It's the world's first mechanical golf watch, and will keep score for you throughout the game.
Deals

Smartwatch deal: The Apple Watch Series 3 just dropped to $199

Now’s a perfect time to grab the last-gen (but still awesome) Apple Watch Series 3. It's a great wearable for those looking to hop into the world of smartwatches, and this limited-time deal makes the Series 3 even more attractive.
Deals

Apple Watch Series 3, Fitbit Charge 2 see price cuts from Walmart and B&H

Save around $50 on the Fitbit Charge 2 from Amazon and more than $100 on the Apple Watch Series 3 at B&H Photo Video and Walmart. These may be slightly older models, but they're still excellent fitness trackers and smartwatches.
Health & Fitness

From the office to the gym, these are the best smartwatches for fitness

The line between smartwatch and fitness tracker continues to blur. To help narrow the field of the best fitness watches, we sifted through what's available and curated a list of devices worthy of a spot on your wrist.