Development

Computers can Tell if You're Bored

Computers are able to read a person's body language to tell whether they are bored or interested in what they see on the screen, according to a new study led by body-language expert Dr Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS).

The research shows that by measuring a person's movements as they use a computer, it is possible to judge their level of interest by monitoring whether they display the tiny movements that people usually constantly exhibit, known as non-instrumental movements.

If someone is absorbed in what they are watching or doing - what Dr Witchel calls 'rapt engagement' - there is a decrease in these involuntary movements.

Dr Witchel said: "Our study showed that when someone is really highly engaged in what they're doing, they suppress these tiny involuntary movements. It's the same as when a small child, who is normally constantly on the go, stares gaping at cartoons on the television without moving a muscle.

The discovery could have a significant impact on the development of artificial intelligence. Future applications could include the creation of online tutoring programmes that adapt to a person's level of interest, in order to re-engage them if they are showing signs of boredom. It could even help in the development of companion robots, which would be better able to estimate a person's state of mind.

Also, for experienced designers such as movie directors or game makers, this technology could provide complementary moment-by-moment reading of whether the events on the screen are interesting. While viewers can be asked subjectively what they liked or disliked, a non-verbal technology would be able to detect emotions or mental states that people either forget or prefer not to mention.

"Being able to 'read' a person's interest in a computer program could bring real benefits to future digital learning, making it a much more two-way process," Dr Witchel said. "Further ahead it could help us create more empathetic companion robots, which may sound very 'sci fi' but are becoming a realistic possibility within our lifetimes."

In the study, 27 participants faced a range of three-minute stimuli on a computer, from fascinating games to tedious readings from EU banking regulation, while using a handheld trackball to minimise instrumental movements, such as moving the mouse. Their movements were quantified over the three minutes using video motion tracking. In two comparable reading tasks, the more engaging reading resulted in a significant reduction (42%) of non-instrumental movement.

The study team also included two of Dr Witchel's team, Carlos Santos and Dr James Ackah, media expert Carina Westling from the University of Sussex, and the clinical biomechanics group at Staffordshire University led by Professor Nachiappan Chockalingam.

BSMS is a partnership between the Universities of Sussex and Brighton together with NHS organisations throughout the south-east region.

Most Popular Now

Smartphones and Wearable Devices co…

RADAR-CNS (Remote assessment of disease and relapse - Central Nervous System), a major new research programme supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) start...

Read more

Patientrack Recognised as One of 'T…

UK healthcare technology company Patientrack has been recognised as providing one of the best eHealth solutions anywhere in Europe, in an EU competition focussed on healt...

Read more

Merck in Agreement with HAPPYneuron…

Merck, a leading science and technology company, announced today that the company has entered into an agreement with HAPPYneuron, a subsidiary of SBT Group of France, in ...

Read more

Future Health Index 2016

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) today launched the results of the first edition of its Future Health Index (FHI), an extensive international study which explores how...

Read more

Mobile Technology: Is the NHS Closi…

Opinion Article by Steve Carvell, head of healthcare at CommonTime. Technology skills are in higher demand than ever. Look across any vertical and developers who can cre...

Read more

New Digital Centre to Help Improve …

A new centre for digital innovation which could transform the way mental health care is provided will be launched today. The Centre for Translational Informatics (CTI) is...

Read more

eHealth Innovation Days Conference

8 - 9 September 2016, Flensburg, Germany. The first eHealth Innovation Days Conference at Flensburg University of Applied Sciences will offer a platform for networking, ...

Read more

Tech Tour Healthtech Summit 2016

21 - 22 June 2016, Lausanne, Switzerland. The 2016 Healthtech Summit is the leading independent European event for investment in Digital Health and Medtech. The summit a...

Read more

Smart Sensors and Innovation Are th…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG; AEX: PHIA) has announced the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected, its latest innovation that uses Smart Sensor technology to help consu...

Read more

2016 Biomax Symposium: Bringing Big…

24 June 2016, Martinsried, Germany. Biomax announces the 2016 Biomax Symposium on "Bringing Big and Complex Data into Clinical Practice" that will take place in Martinsr...

Read more

The Social Life of Health Informati…

Most Americans go online for information and support about health-related issues. But what exactly are they looking for? Researchers at the University of California, Rive...

Read more

Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berl…

Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin, a business accelerator for early stage startups, announces a new partnership with Philips today. As a part of this partnership, f...

Read more

Digest Newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter and stay updated on the latest eHealth News. Subscribe now, it's free!
© eHealthNews.eu 2006 - 2016