James Auger


What would it mean when an electronic device knows more about your partners state than you do? Or can predict an incoming bout of misery through statistical analysis of accumulated data? When can technology become too invasive?
Happylife is the result of an ongoing collaboration with Reyer Zwiggelaar and Bashar Al-Rjoub of Aberystwyth University Computer Science Department. Their EPSRC funded research is described below:
Real-time dynamic passive profiling technique will be based on the modelling of facial expressions, eye movement and pupil changes in both the visual and thermal domains and link these to malicious intent and physiological processes (such as blood flow, eye movement patterns, and pupil dilation).
In the context of national security, criminal activity and human safety, technology is usually seen as a means to an end; however dark or invasive the application, its presence is accepted because the worst case scenario would be infinitely worse. Thus, through these means ‘smart’ technologies are entering our lives and being applied as infallible judges and experts of human character and state.
But with a slight shift in context: applying their powers in the domestic setting, the political justifications are removed allowing us to freely explore these technologies for what they are.
We built a visual display linked to the thermal image camera. This employs facial recognition to differentiate between members of the family. Each member has one rotary dial and one RGB LED display effectively acting like emotional barometers. These show current state and predicted state, the predicted state being based on years of accumulated statistical data.
There is no written feedback on emotional state, it is left to the viewer to interpret this final position of the dial: ‘Is it where it was this morning?’ ‘Why has it spun so far round?’

Video Clip: Demo Movie

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Why Robot?
Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots

Happylife display
Happylife display
thermal image camera
thermal image camera