What is Affective Computing?

Affective computing is the idea that humans can program machines to recognize, interpret, process and simulate the range of human emotions. This concept centers on the development of programs and hardware that create the faculties for a computer to do this, such as implementing a video camera to capture facial cues and gestures that works in conjunction with an algorithm that can detect and interpret these human affects. Not to be confused with facial recognition technologies associated with security, like those that facilitate secure payment transactions, affective computers recognize emotional and behavioral cues that trigger a reactionary process in the computer. A potential application of affective computing is in online learning situations wherein a computerized tutor reacts to facial cues of boredom in a student in an effort to motivate or boost their confidence. With researchers already working on educational applications, and start-up companies exploring other novel uses, growth in the field of affective computing has deep implications for the future of human and computer interactions.

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1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • affective technology can automatically suggest the best path/solution for learners during their learning experience, depending on the learner's emotional dimension, which will be mostly dependent on context and moment. Accounting for the emotional dimension will allow educators to design for increased engagement and motivation. The emotional dimension of the user in the learning path is key to the student's success but has not been evaluated in an objective way in an interactive setting. Affective technology can fill part of this gap. - Eva Eva Oct 24, 2013
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • affective technology goes way beyond facials. In fact, facials are hard to recognize depending on the culture, the genetics, if the person is wearing glasses, and so on. A collection of sensors and devices are being built in research centers to create wearables such as bracelets and headpieces that gather information from the skin, the brain, etc., to help build the emotional dimension of the person, understand it, and have the devices adapt to it. - Eva Eva Oct 24, 2013
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • affective technology can help those learners who need may benefit from assistance with concentration, memorization, attention, stress, etc. - Eva Eva Oct 24, 2013
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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