Ok

By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

Oct 27, 2012

Using Activity-Related Behavioural Features towards More Effective Automatic Stress Detection

Giakoumis D, Drosou A, Cipresso P, Tzovaras D, Hassapis G, Gaggioli A, Riva G.

PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e43571. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043571. Epub 2012 Sep 19

This paper introduces activity-related behavioural features that can be automatically extracted from a computer system, with the aim to increase the effectiveness of automatic stress detection. The proposed features are based on processing of appropriate video and accelerometer recordings taken from the monitored subjects. For the purposes of the present study, an experiment was conducted that utilized a stress-induction protocol based on the stroop colour word test. Video, accelerometer and biosignal (Electrocardiogram and Galvanic Skin Response) recordings were collected from nineteen participants. Then, an explorative study was conducted by following a methodology mainly based on spatiotemporal descriptors (Motion History Images) that are extracted from video sequences. A large set of activity-related behavioural features, potentially useful for automatic stress detection, were proposed and examined. Experimental evaluation showed that several of these behavioural features significantly correlate to self-reported stress. Moreover, it was found that the use of the proposed features can significantly enhance the performance of typical automatic stress detection systems, commonly based on biosignal processing.

Full paper available here

Aug 04, 2012

The Age of ‘Wearatronics’

Medgadget has an interesting article on the raise of ‘Wearatronics’, a new trend in which new materials and interconnects have made circuit assemblies flexible and, as a result, embeddable. Such flexible electronic arrays may be embedded into textiles in order to, for example, measure the wearer’s vital signs or even generate and store power.

According to GigaOm's research report The wearable-computing market: a global analysis the wearatronics market for just health and fitness products is estimated to reach 170 million devices within the next five years.

In this video, Bloomberg's Sheila Dharmarajan reports on the outlook for wearable electronics on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)

Also interesting is this TED speech from David Icke, who creates breathable, implantable microcomputers that conform to the human body, which can be used for a variety of medical applications.

Jul 30, 2012

Nike’s stroboscopic eyewear improves visual memory, hand-eye coordination

Via ExtremeTech

Nike SPARQ Vapor Strobe Eyewear

Sports athletes in recent years have concentrated on making themselves stronger and faster (sometimes to their own detriment and sanctity of the sport — see Baseball, Steroids Era), but building muscle mass is only part of the equation. Nike, one of the biggest sponsors of sport, sees potential (and profit) in specialized eye gear designed to allow athletes to fine tune their sensory skills and “see their sport better” through the use of modern technology.

To prove its point and draw attention to its Sparq Vapor Strobe sports glasses, Nike commissioned a study at Duke’s Institute for Brain Sciences that focuses on “stroboscopic training” using Nike’s eyewear. In essence, Nike went in search of scientific data to prove that simulating a strobe-like experience can increase visual short-term memory retention, and purportedly found it.

Read the full story

May 07, 2012

Watch-like wrist sensor could gauge the severity of epileptic seizures as accurately as EEG

From the MIT press release

epileptic1.jpg

Researchers at MIT and two Boston hospitals provide early evidence that a simple, unobtrusive wrist sensor could gauge the severity of epileptic seizures as accurately as electroencephalograms (EEGs) do — but without the ungainly scalp electrodes and electrical leads. The device could make it possible to collect clinically useful data from epilepsy patients as they go about their daily lives, rather than requiring them to come to the hospital for observation. And if early results are borne out, it could even alert patients when their seizures are severe enough that they need to seek immediate medical attention.

Rosalind Picard, a professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, and her group originally designed the sensors to gauge the emotional states of children with autism, whose outward behavior can be at odds with what they’re feeling. The sensor measures the electrical conductance of the skin, an indicator of the state of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the human fight-or-flight response.

In a study conducted at Children’s Hospital Boston, the research team — Picard, her student Ming-Zher Poh, neurologist Tobias Loddenkemper and four colleagues from MIT, Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital — discovered that the higher a patient’s skin conductance during a seizure, the longer it took for the patient’s brain to resume the neural oscillations known as brain waves, which EEG measures.

At least one clinical study has shown a correlation between the duration of brain-wave suppression after seizures and the incidence of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP), a condition that claims thousands of lives each year in the United States alone. With SUDEP, death can occur hours after a seizure.

Currently, patients might use a range of criteria to determine whether a seizure is severe enough to warrant immediate medical attention. One of them is duration. But during the study at Children’s Hospital, Picard says, “what we found was that this severity measure had nothing to do with the length of the seizure.” Ultimately, data from wrist sensors could provide crucial information to patients deciding whether to roll over and go back to sleep or get to the emergency room.

Read the full press release

 

Mar 31, 2012

Microsoft patents projector eyewear for Xbox and beyond

Via KurzweilAI

[+]mshmspatent

Illustrations from Microsoft's patent show the rough schematics for both a helmet-based display and one embedded in a pair of glasses (credit: Microsoft)

According to Patent Bolt, Microsoft has been secretly working on a video headset since September 2010.

A New Microsoft patent reveals that they’ve been working two styles of headset: an aviation styled helmet aimed at Xbox gamers, and one that resembles a pair of sunglasses for use with smartphones, MP3 players and other future devices.

In the patent, Microsoft states that a compact display system may be coupled into goggles, a helmet, or other eyewear. These configurations enable the wearer to view images from a computer, media player, or other electronic device with privacy and mobility. When adapted to display two different images concurrently — one for each eye — the system may be used for stereoscopic display (e.g., virtual-reality) applications.

Jan 27, 2012

A sign language interpreter glove for smartphone

A team of three designers, Oleg Imanilov, Zvika Markfield, and Tomer Daniel, have recently developed a novel sign language interpreter glove. Basically, the glove works as an input device from which the user is able to use sign language to create a text message. The hw system consists of AD board, gyroscope, finger sensor, Lilypad Adriano and an accelerometer. The prototype was demonstrated at a recent Google developers event in Tel Aviv, and can be seen in the video below.

 

A smart-phone will detect people's emotions

MIT's Technology Review reports that Samsung researchers have released a smart-phone designed to "read" people's emotions. Rather than relying on specialized sensors or cameras, the phone infers a user's emotional state based on how he's using the phone.

"For example, it monitors certain inputs, such as the speed at which a user types, how often the “backspace” or “special symbol” buttons are pressed, and how much the device shakes. These measures let the phone postulate whether the user is happy, sad, surprised, fearful, angry, or disgusted, says Hosub Lee, a researcher with Samsung Electronics and the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology’s Intelligence Group, in South Korea. Lee led the work on the new system. He says that such inputs may seem to have little to do with emotions, but there are subtle correlations between these behaviors and one’s mental state, which the software’s machine-learning algorithms can detect with an accuracy of 67.5 percent."

Once a phone infers an emotional state, it can then change how it interacts with the user: "The system could trigger different ringtones on a phone to convey the caller’s emotional state or cheer up someone who’s feeling low. “The smart phone might show a funny cartoon to make the user feel better,” he says.

Dec 19, 2011

‘Brainlink’ lets you remotely control toy robots and other gadgets

BirdBrain Technologies, a spin-off of Carnegie Mellon University has developed a device called Brainlink that allows users to remotely control robots and other gadgets (including TVs, cable boxes, and DVD players) with an Android-based smartphone. This is achieved through a small triangular controller that you attach to the gadget, with a Bluetooth range of 30 feet.

Mar 03, 2011

Online predictive tools for mental illness: The OPTIMI Project

OPTIMI is a r&d project funded by the European Commission under funded by the European Union's 7th Framework Programme "Personal Health Systems - Mental Health" .

The project has two key goals goals: a) the development of new tools to monitor coping behavior in individuals exposed to high levels of stress; b) the development of online interventions to improve this behavior and reduce the incidence of depression.

To achieve its first goal, OPTIMI will develop technology-based tools to monitor the physiological state and the cognitive, motor and verbal behavior of high risk individuals over an extended period of time and to detect changes associated with stress, poor coping and depression.  

A series of “calibration trials” will allow the project will test a broad range of technologies. These will include wearable EEG and ECG sensors to detect subjects’ physiological and cognitive state, accelerometers to characterize their physical activity, and voice analysis to detect signs of depression. These automated measurements will be complemented with electronic diaries, in which subjects report their own behaviors and the stressful situations to which they are exposed. Further, the project will use machine learning to identify patterns in the behavioral and physiological data that predict the findings from the psychologist and the corticol measurements.

Although the project's objectives are very ambitious, OPTIMI represents one of the most advanced  initiatives in the field of Positive Technology, so I am very excited to follow its progresses and see how far it can go.

 

Jan 05, 2011

INTERSTRESS video released

We have just released a new video introducing the INTERSTRESS project, an EU-funded initiative that aims to design, develop and test an advanced ICT-based solution for the assessment and treatment of psychological stress. The specific objectives of the project are:

  • Quantitative and objective assessment of symptoms using biosensors and behavioral analysis
  • Decision support for treatment planning through data fusion and detection algorithms
  • Provision of warnings and motivating feedback to improve compliance and long-term outcomes

Credits: Virtual Reality Medical Institute

Sep 20, 2010

XWave: Control your iPhone with your brain

The XWave is a new technology that uses a single electrode placed on the wearer’s forehead to measure electroencephalography (EEG) data, and converts these analog signals into digital so they can be used to control an external device. The XWave comes bundled with a software that includes a number of brain-training exercises. These include levitating a ball on the iDevice’s screen, changing a color based on the relaxation level of your brain and training your brain to maximize its attention span.

 

In the company’s own words:

XWave, powered by NeuroSky eSense patented technologies, senses the faintest electrical impulses transmitted through your skull to the surface of your forehead and converts these analogue signals into digital. With XWave, you will be able to detect attention and meditation levels, as well as train your mind to control things. Objects in a game can be controlled, lights in your living room can change colour depending on your mood; the possibilities are limited to only the power of your imagination.





The interesting feature is that the company is even serving up their APIs so developers can design and develop apps using the XWave device. The company reports that some apps already in development include games in which objects are controlled by the wearer’s mind and another that allows the wearer to control the lights in their home or select music based on their mood. You can order an XWave for $US100; it ships on November 1.


Aug 16, 2010

My Relax 3d

There is nothing more regenerating than a long sea vacation. But what we do as we are back to the office and find an overwhelming pile of email? A good recovery strategy from post-vacation stress is essential, and advanced technologies may help.

For example, My Relax 3D is a mobile application that helps you relax while watching at stunning 3D landscapes of an exotic island. When you enter the application, you can choose between highly realistic 3d environments, depicting various island scenarios (i.e. a tropical forest, a sunset)

During the experience, a voiceover provides instructions to relieve from stress and develop positive emotions.

The application is highly configurable: it can be experienced with or without 3D glasses (but I strongly recommend this option to enhance your feeling of "presence"). It is also possible to choose between different pleasant music themes.

Of course, it's not like a first class holiday in a luxury resort... but it's definitely the best you can do with five bucks!

MY RELAX 3D
MY RELAX 3D
MY RELAX 3D

 

Dec 13, 2009

Mobile phones to record and map noise pollution

Via Mobile Active

From traffic to construction to everyday chatter, noise pollution is a part of city life. But with the ubiquity of mobiles, documenting noise pollution is getting a little bit easier. NoiseTube and LHR NoiseMap are two projects that use mobile phones to record and map instances of noise pollution.

NoiseTube uses crowd-sourcing to monitor noise pollution. Users with GPS-enabled phones can install a free application that measures the noise level wherever they are. Users tag the recordings with a description of the noise, its source, the time of day, and other criteria, and the data is then mapped onto GoogleEarth; in this way participants can use their phones as noise sensors to automatically share information about their city with other members of the community.

Dec 12, 2009

Microvision’s new PicoP 3D projected screen

Amazing new first person shooter technology where you can project the screen anywhere.

Dec 08, 2009

The Application and Management of Personal Electronic Information

The First International Forum on the Application and Management of Personal Electronic Information, organized by the MIT SENSEable City Lab, gathered many stakeholders from multiple disciplines to share on the issues surrounding the application and management of personal electronic information:

The goal of this forum is to explore the novel applications for electronic data and address the risks, concerns, and consumer opinions associated with the use of this data. In addition, it will include discussions on techniques and standards for both protecting and extracting value from this information from several points of view: what techniques and standards currently exist, and what are their strengths and limitations? What holistic approaches to protecting and extracting value from data would we take if we were given a blank slate?

Position papers and presentations are now online.

 

Dec 06, 2009

The iPhone Orchestra

The Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra (MoPhO) is a new repertoire-based ensemble using mobile phones as musical instrument. MoPhO's interactive musical works take advantage of the unique technological capabilities of today's hardware and software, transforming multi-touch screens, built-in accelerometers, built-in microphones, GPS, data networks, and computation into powerful and yet mobile chamber meta-instruments.

The researcher behind the idea, Ge Wang, believes cell phones are becoming so powerful that we “cannot ignore them anymore as platforms for creativity. . . . It levels the playing ground in some ways, because everyone has a cell phone.”

 



The Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra’s performance on December 3 at Palo Alto (CA) used an Apple iPhones amplified by speakers attached to small fingerless gloves. Here is a video of the concert.


Dec 02, 2009

Top 10 Consumer Mobile Applications for 2012

 

Gartner has identified the top 10 consumer mobile applications for 2012. The list is based on the impact on consumers and industry players, considering revenue, loyalty, business model, consumer value and estimated market penetration.

The top ten in 2012 will include:

No. 1: Money Transfer
This service allows people to send money to others using Short Message Service (SMS). Its lower costs, faster speed and convenience compared with traditional transfer services have strong appeal to users in developing markets, and most services signed up several million users within their first year. However, challenges do exist in both regulatory and operational risks. Because of the fast growth of mobile money transfer, regulators in many markets are piling in to investigate the impact on consumer costs, security, fraud and money laundering. On the operational side, market conditions vary, as do the local resources of service providers, so providers need different market strategies when entering a new territory.

No. 2: Location-Based Services
Location-based services (LBS) form part of context-aware services, a service that Gartner expects will be one of the most disruptive in the next few years. Gartner predicts that the LBS user base will grow globally from 96 million in 2009 to more than 526 million in 2012. LBS is ranked No. 2 in Gartner’s top 10 because of its perceived high user value and its influence on user loyalty. Its high user value is the result of its ability to meet a range of needs, ranging from productivity and goal fulfillment to social networking and entertainment.

No. 3: Mobile Search
The ultimate purpose of mobile search is to drive sales and marketing opportunities on the mobile phone. To achieve this, the industry first needs to improve the user experience of mobile search so that people will come back again. Mobile search is ranked No. 3 because of its high impact on technology innovation and industry revenue. Consumers will stay loyal to some search services, but instead of sticking to one or two search providers on the Internet, Gartner expects loyalty on the mobile phone to be shared between a few search providers that have unique technologies for mobile search.

No. 4: Mobile Browsing
Mobile browsing is a widely available technology present on more than 60 percent of handsets shipped in 2009, a percentage Gartner expects to rise to approximately 80 percent in 2013. Gartner has ranked mobile browsing No. 4 because of its broad appeal to all businesses. Mobile Web systems have the potential to offer a good return on investment. They involve much lower development costs than native code, reuse many existing skills and tools, and can be agile — both delivered and updated quickly. Therefore, the mobile Web will be a key part of most corporate business-to-consumer (B2C) mobile strategies.

No. 5: Mobile Health Monitoring
Mobile health monitoring is the use of IT and mobile telecommunications to monitor patients remotely, and could help governments, care delivery organizations (CDOs) and healthcare payers reduce costs related to chronic diseases and improve the quality of life of their patients. In developing markets, the mobility aspect is key as mobile network coverage is superior to fixed network in the majority of developing countries. Currently, mobile health monitoring is at an early stage of market maturity and implementation, and project rollouts have so far been limited to pilot projects. In the future, the industry will be able to monetize the service by offering mobile healthcare monitoring products, services and solutions to CDOs.

No. 6: Mobile Payment
Mobile payment usually serves three purposes. First, it is a way of making payment when few alternatives are available. Second, it is an extension of online payment for easy access and convenience. Third, it is an additional factor of authentication for enhanced security. Mobile payment made Gartner’s top 10 list because of the number of parties it affects — including mobile carriers, banks, merchants, device vendors, regulators and consumers — and the rising interest from both developing and developed markets. Because of the many choices of technologies and business models, as well as regulatory requirements and local conditions, mobile payment will be a highly fragmented market. There will not be standard practices of deployment, so parties will need to find a working solution on a case-by-case basis.

No. 7: Near Field Communication Services
Near field communication (NFC) allows contactless data transfer between compatible devices by placing them close to each other, within ten centimeters. The technology can be used, for example, for retail purchases, transportation, personal identification and loyalty cards. NFC is ranked No. 7 in Gartner’s top ten because it can increase user loyalty for all service providers, and it will have a big impact on carriers' business models. However, its biggest challenge is reaching business agreement between mobile carriers and service providers, such as banks and transportation companies. Gartner expects to see large-scale deployments starting from late 2010, when NFC phones are likely to ship in volume, with Asia leading deployments followed by Europe and North America.

No. 8: Mobile Advertising
Mobile advertising in all regions is continuing to grow through the economic downturn, driven by interest from advertisers in this new opportunity and by the increased use of smartphones and the wireless Internet. Total spending on mobile advertising in 2008 was $530.2 million, which Gartner expects to will grow to $7.5 billion in 2012. Mobile advertising makes the top 10 list because it will be an important way to monetize content on the mobile Internet, offering free applications and services to end users. The mobile channel will be used as part of larger advertising campaigns in various media, including TV, radio, print and outdoors.

No. 9: Mobile Instant Messaging
Price and usability problems have historically held back adoption of mobile instant messaging (IM), while commercial barriers and uncertain business models have precluded widespread carrier deployment and promotion. Mobile IM is on Gartner’s top 10 list because of latent user demand and market conditions that are conducive to its future adoption. It has a particular appeal to users in developing markets that may rely on mobile phones as their only connectivity device. Mobile IM presents an opportunity for mobile advertising and social networking, which have been built into some of the more advanced mobile IM clients.

No. 10: Mobile Music
Mobile music so far has been disappointing — except for ring tones and ring-back tones, which have turned into a multibillion-dollar service. On the other hand, it is unfair to dismiss the value of mobile music, as consumers want music on their phones and to carry it around. We see efforts by various players in coming up with innovative models, such as device or service bundles, to address pricing and usability issues. iTunes makes people pay for music, which shows that a superior user experience does make a difference.

 

Sep 28, 2009

Bionic Eye - Augmented Reality on the iPhone

Bionic Eye is the first augmented reality application developed for the iPhone 3GS. A brainchild of Dutch start-up Layar, Bionic Eye enables you to visualize Points of Interest (POI) located in your nearby environment in the US.

POI databases include restaurants, WiFi hotspots, subway stations (New York Subway, Washington Metro, Chicago L Rapid Transit), etc. Over 100.000 POI are already included in this application. Elements located at a distance less than 1km (0,621miles) only will be displayed on the screen.

Download link

 

 

Jul 10, 2009

Neuroscience and the military: ethical implications of war neurotechnologies

Super soldiers equipped with neural implants, suits that contain biosensors, and thought scans of detainees may become reality sooner than you think.

In this video taken from the show "Conversations from Penn State", Jonathan Moreno discusses the ethical implications of the applications of neuroscience in modern warfare.

Moreno is David and Lyn Silfen professor and professor of medical ethics and the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania and was formerly the director of the Center for Ethics at the University of Virginia. He has served as senior staff member for two presidential commissions and is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Apr 17, 2009

MP3 player for unborn babies

Via Repubblica

Canadian design student Geof Ramsay has invented a MP3 player for unborn babies - the "BLABY". By wearing the device, pregnant mothers will be able to play their favourite music to their children. The player consists of a contoured belt that wraps around a mother's waist with three inbuilt vibration speakers playing music into the womb. Its inbuilt speakers transmit the vibrations of music and voice through to the baby in a safe manner, and the mother wearing it can also benefit from three tiny massage mechanisms.

The new B(I)aby on preganant stomach: iPod for unborn babies