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Event looks at computers that can respond to emotions

On Wednesday, Oct. 20, the Media Lab will host Sens*bles, a daylong symposium to debut and discuss the meaning and impact of new computing technology that senses and responds to people's emotional expressions. The event will be held in Kresge Auditorium from 9am-4:30pm.

Sens*bles, which is open to the public, will offer a look into the world of emerging technologies, where computing is not only wearable but also emotional, squeezable, washable and edible. Sens*bles builds on the technologies portrayed in WearAbles, the fashion show and demonstrations of wearable computers presented by Media Lab researchers two years ago (MIT Tech Talk, October 22, 1997).

Sens*bles will consider the many ways in which technology will become emotionally intelligent and responsive, creating a world in which the machine adapts to the human in a respectful and sensible way, rather than the other way around.

For instance, a computer might be customized by its user simply saying, "I like that" or "I don't like that;" or it might sense what delights or frustrates its user and when that user just wants to be left alone.

Sens*bles speakers from the faculty at the Media Lab include Professor Marvin Minsky and Associate Professors Rosalind Picard and Neil Gershenfeld. Others include Byron Reeves, professor and director of the Institute for Communication Research at Stanford University; and Manfred Clynes, president and CEO of MicroSound International Ltd., a pioneer in measuring emotion.

Walter Mossberg, technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal, is MC for the event, and the Flying Karamazov Brothers will close with music and juggling using new sensing technology.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 6, 1999.

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