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Smart Watch, A.I. Analyzing Human Emotions

Apple smartwatch

(Fancycrave1, Pixabay)

1 Aug. 2019. A study is underway mapping human emotions with data collected by smart watches and analyzed with an app powered by artificial intelligence. The project is a joint venture between the Center for Brain Health at University of Texas in Dallas and the start-up enterprise Mindcurrent in Portland, Oregon.

Mindcurrent, a company begun this year, offers an app for users to self-report their emotional states, with data then collected, analyzed, and sent back to the user including visualizations and recommendations to better understand and deal with their emotions. The app, says Mindcurrent, aims to build self awareness, focus, and a calming sense of control for users, as well as reduce stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration by eliminating unwanted influences.

The company is partnering with UT-Dallas to better understand conditions that trigger emotional changes among students and others on a college campus. The university’s Center for Brain Health is recruiting participants on campus to track their emotions with the Mindcurrent app for 45 days. The Center for Brain Health studies factors in neuroscience, behavioral science, and related disciplines to better understand functioning of the brain in daily life and work.

Participants in the study will wear an Apple smart watch to capture data on their activities and locations while also using the Mindcurrent app. Data from the smart watch are expected to provide biometric, environmental, and activity data in real time to go along with the behavioral data collected by the app, also running on the watch. In addition, the study anticipates providing short personalized videos recommended by the app’s algorithm, with data collected on any adjustments in emotions that occur as a result.

The research team led by Daniel Krawczyk, deputy director of the Center for Brain Health, plans to correlate data from the smart watch and app to help pinpoint factors contributing to positive and negative emotional states. Krawczyk’s lab at UT-Dallas studies mental processes involved in reasoning, decision-making, and memory, as well as relationships between brain and behavior in people with psychiatric or neurological disorders as well as healthy individuals.

“The approach of gathering and analyzing moment-by-moment biometric data,” says Krawczyk in a university statement, “has a lot of potential for cognitive neuroscience research and offers an innovative application for A.I.”

“Through this partnership,” adds Sourabh Kothari, co-founder and CEO of Mindcurrent, “we expect to establish a baseline for university students participating in the study, with tens of thousands of data points collected. Ultimately, we hope to identify factors that contribute to negative levels of stress, while concurrently examining factors that lead to greater happiness and a better learning environment.”

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