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EmSense Gets Inside the Head

August 22 2007

Emotional intelligence technology developer EmSense is using a high-tech brain-scanner to measure the brain waves, heart rates, and sweat responses of a test group playing an online military-themed game.

No brain in this one...'Frontlines: Fuels Of War' has been created by gaming firm THQ, whose Chief Marketing Officer Bob Aniello says that as a result of the research findings, the company has been able to re-position the product from a co-operative-play, squad-style military game to more of an open world, multiplayer game. 'We typically rely on people to tell us what they think. Using this technology, it's not what people say, but what they're thinking about it. And that's so much more accurate.'

Early emotional response is gathered through the EmSense wireless headset, which includes a dry EEG (electroencephalogram) sensor to measure the electrical activity of the brain, an accelerometer to detect motions and facial twitches, and a heart-rate monitor that can gauge stress rates. Data from these sensors can spot when the wearer blinks, blushes, or sweats. To test a subject, all that is required is a laptop, headphones and a headset that can transmit the data wirelessly to software.

'Combining all these measurements together, you get a model of how someone's responding to an ad or a game,' said Hans Lee, Chief Technology Officer of EmSense. 'This gives us a second-by-second emotional and cognitive response of the audience.'

EmSense (short for 'emotion sensing') was founded in 2004 by Lee and a number of other former students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, along with Lee's father Michael. The six co-founders and 21 employees work in offices in San Francisco, Santa Monica and Monterey and the firm is online at www.emsense.com.

All articles 2006-23 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas, 2024- by Nick Thomas, unless otherwise stated.

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