What is Affective Computing?

Affective computing is the idea that humans can program machines to recognize, interpret, process and simulate the range of human emotions. This concept centers on the development of programs and hardware that create the faculties for a computer to do this, such as implementing a video camera to capture facial cues and gestures that works in conjunction with an algorithm that can detect and interpret these human affects. Not to be confused with facial recognition technologies associated with security, like those that facilitate secure payment transactions, affective computers recognize emotional and behavioral cues that trigger a reactionary process in the computer. A potential application of affective computing is in online learning situations wherein a computerized tutor reacts to facial cues of boredom in a student in an effort to motivate or boost their confidence. With researchers already working on educational applications, and start-up companies exploring other novel uses, growth in the field of affective computing has deep implications for the future of human and computer interactions.

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1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • This again feels like one of values of Horizon Report in helping administrators and educators outside of a particular field begin to see the future. The distinctions here are nicely framed and just want to make sure we can balance those "known" horizons already being reported in the Chronicle with subjects like affective computing. - dicksonk dicksonk Oct 22, 2014 Agree with what Kyle Dickson has written here; I experienced a very rudimentary version of this while voluntarily participating in a user-experience test of an organization's new website: using a camera attached to the computer terminal I was using, the people gathering data about how well the newly-redesigned website worked for me were able to see the movement of my eyes as I scanned screens and were also able to monitor my facial expressions during the test of the new system. Can see how affective computing might help us be even more responsive to our online learners than we already are.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 27, 2014
  • not only we can trigger boredom or non-attention, but most importantly, it can help detect levels of stress and help the learner manage the situation best - edelera edelera Oct 28, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • affective technology can contribute to the overall wellbeing of the young learners, not just academically, therefore contributing to the work done by mentors, tutors and counselors, bringing proactivity to aid learners throughout their process - edelera edelera Oct 28, 2014
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • This could provide another avenue to greater responsiveness to and interactions with online learners.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 27, 2014
  • being able to evaluate stress levels, affective group levels can greatly help in revisiting educational methods, interactions and engagement - edelera edelera Oct 28, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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