Does it sometimes seem like nobody understands how you’re feeling? Well, pretty soon, your computer could be providing some much needed emotional support in the workplace.
That’s if an innovative new mood-reading application, which is currently being developed by Dell, is made available to businesses and consumers within the next three years, as the company predicts.
The software is designed to work with existing mind activity headsets to provide an accurate reading of the wearer’s emotional state. While it has been in the development stage for some time, Dell’s head of research, Jai Menon, thinks it could be released in 2017.
Mr Menon, who recently joined Dell after a 20-year career at IBM, said that a small team of researchers have been working with a variety of headset devices, such as those designed by Neurosky, in the hope of devising a reliable way to determine whether the user was sad, happy, frustrated or bored.
The company has already suggested that the technology could be put to good use in a working environment, helping employees to maximise productivity.
PC could ‘reduce distractions’ when you’re trying to concentrate
Mr Menon was quoted by bbc.co.uk as saying: “If I can sense the user is working hard on a task, an intuitive computer system might then reduce distractions, such as allowing incoming phone calls to go directly to voicemail and not letting the user be disturbed.
“Similarly, if they’ve been concentrating for a long time, maybe it could suggest a break.”
The development team has also looked into uses for the kit in the gaming market, with Mr Menon suggesting that a ‘bored’ mood reading could potentially be used to automatically adjust difficulty settings as the player progresses. Tips could also be offered when the user’s frustration levels start to rise.
While it appears to be further in the research process than most, Dell isn’t the only major firm to take an interest in mood-reading technology. IBM has also tested uses for similar applications at its Surrey base, and Microsoft has even worked on a ‘smart bra’ that uses skin and heart activity data to identify stress.