New Technologies for Measuring Emotions

Rosalind W. Picard (MIT Media Lab and Affectiva, Inc.)
Keynote Keynote Room - 3rd Level
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Rosalind Picard, an MIT Media Lab professor, never wanted to start a business and for most of her early career, she tried to avoid emotion. She enjoys working on hard scientific problems and has authored several patents and over 200 publications, mostly of the geeky mathematical type. Gradually, she started to realize how important emotion was to rational thinking, to intelligence, to health, and to successful human-technology interaction. She wrote the book Affective Computing, which wound up launching a field by that name. She and her team started trying to make emotion recognition technology practical, motivated especially by ways it could help people on the autism spectrum. Then she saw her team’s technology could make lives better, not only for people on the autism spectrum, but also for businesses who fail to accurately read customer emotions. Many people who are disabled are better than businesses when it comes to recognizing people’s emotions.

Picard is now the co-founder, chairman, and chief scientist of Affectiva, focused on creating technology to better measure and communicate emotion in real life, both for people who would like help with this, and for businesses who need help with this. She also continues to lead the MIT Media Lab’s Affective Computing research, and to co-direct the Things That Think consortium, and the Autism and Communication Technology initiative.

In this talk she’ll attempt live demonstrations of the latest technology enabling new kinds of emotion measurement – for health, for business, and for the people who originally inspired making this technology practical, those on the autism spectrum.

Photo of Rosalind W. Picard

Rosalind W. Picard

MIT Media Lab and Affectiva, Inc.

Professor Rosalind W. Picard, Sc.D. is founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Laboratory, co-director of the Things That Think Consortium, the largest industrial sponsorship organization at the lab, and leader of the new and growing Autism & Communication Technology Initiative at MIT. She is co-founder, chief scientist and chairman of Affectiva, Inc., making technology to help measure and communicate emotion.

Picard holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and master’s and doctorate degrees, both in electrical engineering and computer science, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to completing her doctorate at MIT, she was a Member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories where she designed VLSI chips for digital signal processing and developed new methods of image compression and analysis. In 1991 she joined the MIT Media Lab faculty. She became internationally known for constructing mathematical texture models for content-based retrieval of images, for creating new tools such as the Photobook system, and for pioneering methods of automated search and annotation in digital video. She is author of the award-winning book Affective Computing, which was instrumental in starting a new field by that name. Picard has been awarded dozens of distinguished and named lectureships internationally and in 2005 was honored as a Fellow of the IEEE for contributions to image and video analysis and affective computing.

The author of nearly two hundred scientific articles and chapters in multidimensional signal modeling, computer vision, pattern recognition, machine learning, human-computer interaction, and affective computing, Picard is an international leader in envisioning and inventing innovative technology. She holds multiple patents, having designed and developed a variety of new sensors, algorithms, and systems for sensing, recognizing, and responding respectfully to human affective information, with applications in autism communication, human and machine learning, health behavior change, marketing, advertising, customer service, and human-computer interaction.

Picard interacts regularly with industry and has consulted for companies such as Apple, AT&T, BT, HP, i.Robot, and Motorola. She is a popular keynote speaker, and her group’s achievements have been featured in forums for the general public such as The New York Times, The London Independent, National Public Radio, Scientific American Frontiers, ABC’s Nightline and World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, Time, Vogue, Wired, Voice of America Radio, New Scientist, and BBC’s “The Works” and “The Big Byte.” Picard lives in Newton, Massachusetts with her husband and three energetic sons.

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