Engineers develop machines for recognising emotions

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Washington, Apr 17 (UNI) Henceforth emotions won't be only the domain of humans and animals but such machines are being developed that will ''feel.'' Emotions are an intrinsic part of communications. But machines don't have, perceive or react to them, which makes us ''their handlers'' hot under the collar.

But thanks to building blocks developed by European researchers, machines that feel may no longer be confined to science fiction.

Nearly everybody has to communicate with machines at some level, be it mobile phones, personal computers or annoying, automated customer support 'solutions.' But the communication is on the machine's terms, not the person's.

Although researchers around the world have been working on making the human-machine interface more user friendly, most of the progress has been on the purely mechanical side.

''The issue was confused by everyone trying to do the whole thing at once when nobody had the tools to do so,'' Professor Roddy Cowie, coordinator of the EU-funded project, Science Daily reported.

Commonly, systems would be developed by skilled programmers and engineers who understood how to write and record great computer programmes, but know little about defining and capturing human emotion.

''When they developed databases, the recordings were nothing like the way emotion appears in everyday action and interaction, and the codes they used to describe the recording would not fit the things that happen in everyday life,'' explains Prof. Cowie.

''We've developed systems for recognising emotion using multiple modalities and this puts us very much at the leading edge of recognition technology,'' Prof. Cowie said.

''And we've identified the different types of signal which need to be given by an agent normally a screen representation of a person if it is going to react in an emotionally convincing way,'' he added.

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