Most have heard of Siri, but so far the technology is limited in what it delivers. A new invention, EmoSpark, seeks to use more sophisticated technology to track your facial expressions, emotions, and interests and become a virtual friend and household manager.
London-based French entrepreneur Patrick Levy-Rosenthal is focusing on an area of artificial intelligence (AI) that is just beginning to vie for attention: creating robots that respond to human emotions. One day we may have virtual friends and even virtual psychotherapists, but before we do, AI must be able to understand human emotions and respond to them appropriately.
At the heart of Levy-Rosenthal’s EmoSpark, an Android-powered cube-shaped device, is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth EPU or “Emotional Processing Unit.” The EPU can interpret a full range of emotions and conduct conversations with users. An iPhone version is in the works.
The EmoSpark uses facial recognition technology to interpret a user’s expressions and develop a profile of his or her personality and emotional states. The device, which is 3.5″ x 3.5″ x 3.5″, learns a user’s likes and dislikes with respect to entertainment, videos, music, text, and more through interactions with the user. As interaction with EmoSpark proceeds, the device begins to understand what type of information and situations produce given emotions in its subject.
Besides interacting with people, the EmoSpark also connects to home systems using the Jarvis Operating System to intelligently manage the operation of its critical systems including heating, cooling, security, and more. The device has an API that will allow developers to create software and devices that will plug into it in the future.
The company raised $179,000 in Indiegogo crowdfunding support in just over two months. EmoSpark retails for $350, but there are less expensive versions available.