Affective Computing in the Home

Learn how a smart home can use your emotional data to create a suitable atmosphere.

Hi, my name is Daria Loi, principal engineer at Intel Labs. Today I will discuss how affective computing can enrich your own experiences. Stay tuned.

Affective computing is a capability by which devices understand human emotions and take actions based on that understanding. So what can be done with emotional data inside your home?

Let's look at an example. Eric had a very stressful day at work, and his wife, Cindy, is out of the country for business. As he approaches his smart home, this system syncs with his devices to get details on his day and emotional state.

As Eric enters the house, his handheld device starts playing music that had relaxed him in the past and adjusts lights and temperature to his preferred setting. As he sits on his couch, the smart home system turns on the TV, which starts his slide show of his family's favorite travel pictures.

The system knows the images of the family's favorites, because he stored their past emotional responses. The system also carefully avoids pictures that can remind Eric of work, and connected to his Smart Watch, logs new emotional feedback as images play.

Since his wife Cindy is out, Eric needs to take more responsibility caring for the kids, who will be home from school soon. The smart home system knows that Eric relaxes when he cooks, so it suggests canceling dinner reservations. The smart home knows, also, that all of the ingredients to his favorite dish are in the fridge. Eric is excited about it, accepts the suggestion, and starts cooking.

The home system cancels the reservation and connects the kitchen projector that shows the recipe on the counter. When the kids arrive home, Eric's stress level is decreased and they have a nice meal together. During dinner, this system connects with surrounding cameras and microphones, monitoring the facial expression, voice tone, and laughter.

The system sends an email to Cindy, letting her know that her family is having a good time. When Eric and the kids sit on the couch, the system turns on the TV and initiates a video call with Cindy. After they say good night, the system nudges the kids' wearable devices, prompting them to wash the dishes for their dad, since he had such a hard day.

Affective computing is the human side of artificial intelligence. A clear understanding of people's attitudes and thresholds related to AI will help us design a meaningful affective system that we will want in our lives. A system that we will reach out [to] every day, including our own experiences.

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