Emotion Technology: From Autism to Customer Experience and Decision Making


December 9, 2009


Rosalind W. Picard


MIT Media Lab


This talk will demonstrate new technologies that help measure and communicate
emotion, and describe ways in which these open up whole new lines of research.
The technologies to be shown include software for reading real-time emotional
expressions from the face, as well as autonomic arousal from the body.
While most of this research has been focused on helping people on the autism spectrum
and others with communication challenges, there are also hard research
questions to address in understanding customer experiences and
the role of emotion in decision-making. This talk will highlight ways we are
advancing the state of the art (at the Media Lab) in these areas.


Rosalind W. Picard

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. In April 2009 she co-founded Affectiva, Inc. with Dr. Rana el Kaliouby, to commercialize technologies for emotion measurement and communication. Picard holds a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Masters 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, where she became internationally known for constructing powerful mathematical 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. The year before she was up for tenure, she published 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. 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 hergroup’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.”