Wireless signals can detect your feelings with new device

Left to right: PhD student Fadel Adib, PhD student Mingmin Zhao, and Professor Dina Katabi pose with their EQ-Radio device, which can detect emotion using wireless signals.

Photo: Jason Dorfman/MIT CSAIL
Left to right: PhD student Fadel Adib, PhD student Mingmin Zhao, and Professor Dina Katabi pose with their EQ-Radio device, which can detect emotion using wireless signals. Photo: Jason Dorfman/MIT CSAIL

CAMBRIDGE, MA (AP/WCMH) — What if your computer or smartphone could tell if you’re happy or sad?

A new device developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can detect a person’s emotions using wireless signals reflecting off a person’s body to measure human behavior.

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory say their EQ-Radio device is 87 percent accurate in telling if someone is excited, happy, angry or sad.

It’s as accurate as an electrocardiogram monitor, which uses a sensor on the body, in measuring heartbeats.

“Just by knowing how people breathe and how their hearts beat in different emotional states, we can look at a random person’s heartbeat and reliably detect their emotions,” said PhD student Mingmin Zhao.

They say it could one day be used by film studios and advertising agencies to gauge audience reaction, in smart homes to adjust temperature based on mood, or in health care.

“Our work shows that wireless signals can capture information about human behavior that is not always visible to the naked eye,” said MIT professor and project lead Dina Katabi.

MIT’s team plans to present the work at a mobile computing conference next month.

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