Tracking Emotions – The Game is on
The world is changing, and the corona pandemic has abruptly prompted the process of change. It has affected the speed and pattern of change. The Pandemic seems to halt and freeze life, but the truth is that it has only changed the pattern of change another way round. Things that we never imagined before are now emerging at the top of the to-do list. Social distancing, washing hands repeatedly, and covering the face as a private body part are the realities that no one could have thought about months ago. The booming e-commerce, home deliveries, and online education have never been a top priority for all of us. We are returning to normalcy, but it will never be normal like the past. However, it will be a brand new normal, carrying the Pandemic’s legacy to live long.
The rising concern over health has increased the focus on mental health. The economic crisis and “stay at home” mantra, coupled with job loss complications, have resulted in an increase in mental health issues like anxiety and depression. It has paved the way for helping people with innovative tools for monitoring and regulating their emotions. An app developed by the researchers at Dalhousie University helps users record their emotional well-being. The recording and analysis include Voice data, keystrokes, and sleep patterns of the users.
This is a step forward to the long way ahead to measure and quantify human emotions. Innovation will next lead to “computerized controlling” of human behaviors through hi-tech adventures like Neuralink by Elon Musk. Technologies like emotion sensing robots, cars, digital wristbands, and keystrokes recording have a single goal: forecasting and controlling human emotions and behaviors.
How & Why?
Emotions are a powerful force behind making our everyday decisions and relating them to our social life. That is why Innovation in this sphere is receiving a warm welcome, both in crisis and beyond. The emotions are a complex phenomenon to record and measure. The device-measured data can not substitute the qualitative depth and formation of emotions. The emotion-sensing technologies can help better understand and control feelings if the startups in this direction could reach the mark of phenomenal reality.
Reading about the following FIVE companies can give an exciting view of the emotion reading, recording, and remolding” drive.
Healium, founded in 2013, used virtual reality and wearable technologies enabling users to “see their feelings.” The Apple Watch collected bio feed data, or an EEG headband (a device that monitors the brain’s electrical activity) is transmitted to an app. The users can “see” their feelings in the form of butterflies flying in front of the user’s selected background. The idea behind visualizing the feeling is cooling the mood for managing stress and anxiety.
Reflect Innovation was started in 2018 by a Joy Ventures portfolio company. It has developed a portable interactive textile product to utilize biofeedback to create awareness for people to understand their emotional state. The device works by changing colors in the response of signals from the body of the user. Noga Sapir, the founder, is trying to combine neuroscience and textile design to create this tool.
Inner Balance is another innovation by Heart Math. It is a sensor for iPhone and Android for measuring heart rhythm patterns, gauging the user’s emotions with an app, including guided meditations, real-time coaching tips, and journaling. The app design aims to achieve the mental well being. The company recently added six new languages to meet the rising demand.
Digital health company Sonde Health measures the emotional signs, including depression, hypertension, sleepiness, and respiratory illness through sound. The digital devices like smartphones, laptops, smartwatches, tablets, and smart speakers used to track vocal patterns and detect health changes to enable preventive self-care. The company introduced a new tool, Sonde One, which uses a six-second sample of users’ voices to detect respiratory problems. The Corona Pandemic issue was behind this idea. Sonde entered in partnership with Wellworks for You, to ensure its availability to its 1.4 million members.
The 2015 initiated Feel venture uses a digital wristband that quantifies users’ emotions. The Feel app connects users to mood journaling and breathing exercises. Fifteen minutes of sessions are provided with licensed therapists. The data from Sentio Solutions, the Feel developers, indicate that users spend 50% more time per week on the app. The percentage of participation in weekly therapy sessions is about 97%.
The future of emotion tracking
The emotional tracking is yet at an early stage. A lot of research and technology improvements are needed to push it to ultimate sophistication. The emotions detection, recording, and maneuvering market have a massive potential for experimentation and innovative startups. The masses thoughtlessly cling to such innovations. So the field carries a promising future for the technology adventurists. It is too early to comment if the move will prove a blessing or another threat to human privacy.